Oh, St. Patrick’s Day. At just the sound of the name most people immediately think of the color green, Guinness Beer, pub-crawls and leprechauns.
Saint Patrick’s Day, also known as St. Paddy’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick, began as an official Christian feast day and celebration of the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The day is meant to commemorate both Saint Patrick and Irish heritage. However, despite its cultural and religious roots, St. Patrick’s Day has, instead, become an Americanized holiday and all day drinking fest.
Regardless of what day of the week that St. Paddy’s day falls on, the Saturday before has adapted the tradition of big parties and early morning pub-crawls, especially in big cities like Philadelphia. Thousands of people make their way from one bar/pub to the next. If it’s not the Saturday before that houses the rowdy festivities, then it’s March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day itself. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade in New York City, for example, was established to celebrate both the feast day and Irish culture. Although some people do still celebrate the day for the cultural reasons and visit NYC to truly enjoy the parade, the NYC St. Paddy’s Day parade has become, more than not, simply an excuse for senseless drinking. All ages, especially between 16 and 25, roam the streets of NYC crawling from bar to bar or simply drinking out on city streets with friends and fellow Paddy’s day partiers. However, although many people think that St. Patrick’s Day is an exception to the laws of public drinking and intoxication – it’s not. The rules still apply and public drinking can still merit you a ticket. So, if you are planning on spending the day celebrating in a city, be cautious.
There is nothing wrong with combining Irish traditions with our own to create new interpretations of the holiday, but what bothers some is that there appears to be almost no remaining Irish traditions left in the day that we celebrate. I asked some students on Villanova’s campus what their opinions on the Americanization of St. Patrick’s day was. Here is what they had to say:
“As an Irish American, I sort of wish that more people knew what the day was actually about, besides the drinking aspect. It’s okay to have fun but they should at least know the basic reason behind the holiday. ” – Anna ‘16
“America tends to turn simply holidays into something that can be profitable so I’m not surprised that they did this with St. Paddy’s day. But, I do have a lot of fun so I don’t have any complaints.” – Kat ‘17
“I never actually really thought about it. I don’t mind it.” – Stephanie ‘17
Although the original Irish roots of St. Patrick’s Day have been watered down by American traditions, the celebrations are exceptionally fun and aren’t going anywhere any time soon.