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Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!

March 17, 2008

Ah, it's here: the feast of St. Patrick. And by feast, I of course mean eating a lot of boiled root vegetables, corned beef, and cabbage in every creative culinary use there is. The other good thing about today is that it's the day after the tournament selection (more on this later in the day), and so people will be filling out their brackets while drowning in green lagers (oh tasty), puking up Guinness (oh tasty) and staring at blonde bimbos who have had too much to drink and aren't wearing enough (oh tasty!). If they're not filling out brackets while drunk, those other people will be filling out brackets while hung over. Christ Jesus, I might actually stand a chance of doing well this year.

That basketball-enhanced digression aside, let's get on to celebrating the man for whom this day is dedicated: St. Joseph of Arimethea. Okay, okay...while this good Samaritan cross-bearer does have the inauspicious position of sharing his saintly day with the more famous and far more verdant St. Patrick, I thought perhaps I should at least give him a little dap. There you go, Joe. Thanks for, you know, sharing the burden with our Lord and Savior while he was struggling through the streets of Jerusalem after being striped, crowned with thorns, and mocked. That showed a lot of character. But screw that, let's talk about getting drunk!

Yes, it is St. Patrick's Day, the Patron Saint of Ireland, an honor he shares with St. Brigid of Kildare and St. Columba. He is also the Patron Saint of Montserrat, Nigeria, and Engineers (thus making him the Patron Saint of Purdue). Fast fact for you: Patrick has never been canonized by a Pope. Instead, he was recommended for sainthood by the local diocese after his death (ca. 493) for being "a fairly religious person". At the time, this was standard practice. Now, of course, all canonizations have to go through Rome in order to be done.

A little history on our favorite thinly-veiled reason to get piss drunk and make asses of ourselves Irish Saint. Patrick started out life in Ireland as a slave, captured during a raid, and taken off to be a herder, among other things. After about six years, he escaped, returning to his home in Britain, where he entered the church. He then returned to Ireland for missionary work, where he used a local plant, the Shamrock, to describe the three facets of the Holy Trinity to the Godless heathens that inhabited the island. While there, he took up a stick and started whacking anything crawling on the ground that had no legs and, despite exhortations by the sweet bass voice of Barry White, he drove the snakes from the Island. Other facts about Patrick: his favorite color was green; his favorite movie was Rudy; his favorite X-Man was Banshee; his favorite food was Lucky Charms; he made kissing the Blarney Stone fashionable; he used a shillelagh as his whacking stick; wherever he went on his mission journeys, the rivers turned green; he loved a good parade; he had no nose, a pointy head, a predilection toward green bahama shorts with purple flowers, lived under a rock, had only one tooth and avidly hunted jellyfish.

Another fact for you: he was most likely two people. That's true! A lot of things credited toward St. Patrick might actually have been performed by St. Palladius, who was another holy man working in Ireland around the same time as Patrick. Whereas Patrick focused on the areas of Ulster and Connacht (the purple and blue counties on the map to the right, respectively), Palladius is mostly associated with Leinster (the yellow counties). Both men are attributed with bringing the Word of the Lord to Ireland, and so it seems historians might have confused the two. This is apparently because while the savages of the Emerald Isle were good at painting their bodies, raiding the British coasts, and drinking green ale, they weren't too good at writing things down about which holy man went where on their lovely little island. Tsk tsk.

So let's all raise a pint to St. Patrick, because today, everyone has a little Irish in them--despite the fact that most people in this great nation of ours couldn't find Ireland on a map. Truth be told, I do have Irish in me, and not because I went to Notre Dame (where the St. Patrick's day parties were surprisingly muted). My Irish ancestry comes through my mother's side, from the Ormsby family. Funny thing about the Ormsby family is that they started out in Scotland, and were landed gentry if not minor nobles. Famously (and this is documented in film), they were granted extra favors and land in order to no longer support the Scottish rebellion (yes, THAT film), thus siding with the English. When the commoners heard of this, the Ormsbys had to flee their lands after a peasant uprising. From there, they set up shop in Ireland, hung out for a few years, then moved on to America and elsewhere. This was one branch, and might not be my branch, but I'll take them, just so that I can point to the screen and say, "Yep, there goes your ancestors, kids" while watching Braveheart (something we might have to do later in life when they can, you know, handle gratuitous beheadings).

And that's something to drink to.


Chemgeek said...

Should I feel guilty for not participating in the day named after St. Valentine but wholeheartedly embracing all things related to the day of St. Patrick?

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Absolutely not.

Remember, the whole legend of St. Valentine is disputed and can most likely be related back to horny birds.

Patrick, on the other hand, is fairly-well documented (even if he might be Palladius, as well) and a much more convincing historical figure.

Chemgeek said...

aaaaaaaah. Conscience... clean.

Now, I just need to get my wife to read this.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

It would also behoove you, then, to have her read the St. Valentine's Day post. It might help allay her anger and frustration if she realizes that all we're doing is celebrating the procreation of birds. And the masscre of mobsters.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

Poor St. Palladius. He's getting shorted. I think we should try to get a second day added to the celebration. So not only would we get March 17th as St. Pat's, but then March 18th as St. Pall's....Oh wait, that sounds too much like the beer St. Paul... Hummm, I may have to rethink my masterful plan, (darn German genes~always messing up my masterful plans!!)

I do love that you family is in Braveheart. Now I can brag that "I know" someone in that movie :-)

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Palladius' feast day is actually July 7. Depending on where July 4th falls, you could make it a very long, very drunken weekend.