Oh it’s Paddy’s day on the 17th of March, St Patrick being the patron saint of Ireland. When I was growing up, Paddy’s day was just a small parade and nothing was really made of it but in the last 20 years it seems to have exploded into a huge party, I’m not completely convinced it’s because the Irish have suddenly become more patriotic, my over ridding impression is that we have had visitors coming over from America to celebrate Paddy’s day and they have went “what, that’s it? a small parade?” where-as of course in the States it’s an effing huge celebration where everyone is Irish, so I think everyone has got a bit put out that it’s massive in the States and everyone makes much more of a song and dance about it these days (literally!).
The ironic thing is that it usually falls smack bang in the middle of Lent so we have 20 days of abstinence then a whole weekend of getting completely banjaxed followed by another 18 days in which we have time to nurse one massive hangover.. only the Irish would arrange their major celebration in the middle of Lent.
Now that I’m living in London I should really mention the patron saint of England, St. George, a roman officer who lived in Turkey and got beheaded for refusing to renounce his Christian beliefs. He’s ‘celebrated’ on the 23rd of April, well, when I say celebrated I think about one in ten English actually know when the day is. It’s weird how St. George is the patron saint of England, I think it was Edward the third who decided that and there’s absolutely no evidence that he ever set foot on this land.
It’s somewhat confusing that he’s also the patron saint of Portugal, Greece, Georgia (which probably had first dibs on him), Lithuania, Ethiopia, Palestine and Catalonia, I’m sure there is a link to Malta and Cyprus too, so when it comes to the FIFA world cup he must really be torn as to whom to support – unlike me who always supports ANY team playing against the French!
In many pictures you see him slaying a dragon and that’s somewhat ironic as the dragon represents a thinly veiled reference to Muslims and yet St. George is regarded very highly in the Muslim world as well, in the church where his remains are alleged to erm remain, there are just as many Muslims visitors as Christian visitors – go figure.
There are a lot of allusions regarding Saints that Joe Public doesn’t really pick up on, not just the dragon but St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, post Ice Age there were definitely bugger all snakes in Ireland and again it’s an allusion to non christen beliefs, Ireland was basically the land of tree hugging druids at the time of St. Patrick, (think of a country full of Prince Charles) and he helped convert Ireland to Christianity. He was remarkably successful, 93% of the Irish put down Catholic as their religion, the other seven percent put down Jedi, which just goes to show we haven’t lost our sense of humour when it comes to religion. May the farce be with you.