4

St. Patrick's Day Traditions: A Historical Perspective

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Many of us wear green garments and consume green concoctions on St. Patrick's Day. But who was the man who would become widely celebrated? He was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain. At age 16, he was enslaved by a sheep farmer. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s, he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary, and when he died March 17 in 461, he became the patron saint of Ireland.

Today, St. Paddy's Day has become a celebration of Irish tradition. But history has been cast aside, and the main focus is food and alcohol debauchery. Kinda ironic for a holiday that commemorates a saint, don't ya think? So how would today's green traditions stand up to Saint Patrick's brotherhood standards?

Drink

On any other occasion, we would shy away from consuming gallons of anything that was neon green. Yet on St. Patrick's Day, this is not only perfectly acceptable but also expected, and bars across the country dye their precious libations the color of a Jolly Rancher. Grown men throw their fear of "girly" drink colors out the window and guzzle it down to put hair on their chest. Saint Patrick's face would have turned green at the sight of adulterated mead, so stick with the tried and true for a better way to honor him.

Eat

The latest commercial trend is "green foods" to celebrate the luck of the Irish. The only lucky people here are the ones laughing their way to the bank as we spend our hard-earned green on pasta, cookies, cakes -- all colored green. Saint Patrick is turning over in his grave because this poor old monk was allowed one meat meal a week. We're pretty sure this was dedicated to some serious Irish corned beef.

Be merry...

Let's just clarify: Monks don't wear green top hats. Saint Patrick spent his days in a long wool garment that would have been green only if he rolled around in the grass. He did, however, use the three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity to pre-Christian Irish people, so if you must cover your head, do so in proper style.

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.