You wake up to your alarm at 5:30 a.m. and roll over to slap the snooze button. Hearing faint calls in the distance as Station beckons for you, you slide out of bed and dress in nearly every article of green clothing that you own. The one day a year that you’re willing to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to drink green beer and wear an obnoxious amount of your least favorite color has finally arrived: St. Patrick’s Day.
Does anyone know why we even wear green and gold and put out leprechaun decorations everywhere? What even is a leprechaun? Who’s St. Patrick? Does he even like green beer?
St. Patrick’s Day is easily one of my favorite holidays of the year, especially at Witt. But, every year I can’t help but laugh at myself throughout the day for how ridiculous the holiday actually is. The story of the celebration started when March 17 was declared a feast day in honor of St. Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland in 432. For the Irish, they celebrated the holiday with religious practices and lots of great food.
In 1737, Boston, MA hosted their first St. Patrick’s Day parade and other cities, including Chicago and New York, weren’t far behind. Emigrants to the United States were the ones who transformed the holiday into what it is today. Originally the holiday was meant to celebrate all things Irish and has slowly morphed into a day that seems to celebrate beer and all things green rather than the Irish culture. In fact, the Irish didn’t even use green as a means of celebration originally, the color that was more commonly associated with St. Patrick was blue, but the color has since changed as it has become more commercialized.
Nowadays, the last thing that’s being celebrated on St. Patrick’s day is Irish culture or St. Patrick. It’s all about getting unnecessarily drunk while covered in glitter. The poor redheads of the world just simply don’t stand a chance against all the leprechaun and pot of gold comments and jokes. Station thrives and probably makes more money off of Witt students between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on March 17 than any other day of the year.
It’s also kind of detrimental to the student population and campus, especially this year. Because St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, a large majority of the student body spent the day drinking and moving from house to house, consuming mass amounts of alcohol. The following day, campus is left totally trashed. Empty Natural Lite cans and green beads litter the campus grounds. Waking up hungover, students spend the day in bed and neglect going to class in order to repair their bodies and try to put back together the pieces from the night before.
As much as I love the holiday, I don’t think I’ll ever understand why we college kids in America celebrate it the way that we do and the extent to which we do it, even when the Irish only celebrate with beer and parades because of the tourist population.