5 days pre Alban Eiler - c.e. 2007
The spring equinox is only a few days away now, which of course means that the feast of St. Patrick - the symbol of the rise of the X-tian faith in Ireland - is upon us again. In Americay, it means there will be parades in a lot of major cities, where everyone wears green and some even have kitschy badges that say "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" - followed by scrambling to the bars and drinking of various alcoholic concoctions. It does amuse me that the celebration of a very staid X-tian saint leads to a nearly automatic bacchanalian gathering--right on cue, every year. I like to think it's the spirit of the Druids getting a bit of theirs back on 'the church'. In Ireland itself and in the UK, it's a much more sober affair - I mean, sure, people go out and there are parties - but it's not the gigantic soiree that it seems to be in the States.
Paddy's story has been told over and over, if you need a refresher - it's here. The main gist of his legend is that he drove all the "things" (I can't say the actual word - for Pixie's benefit - you know, the crawling reptiles that flick their tongues out a lot) out of Ireland. This, to the devout followers of the faith, is because the "things" were in league with the 'Devil' (if you recall the Adam & Eve story)--so of course, they had to go. It's also been said he carried out his act because the "things" were considered important to the Celts. I found this "Celtic Symbols" page, which explains what the things meant to the Celtic tribes before the mass conversion to X-tianity. Yep - they seemed pretty danged important to the Celts - and that wasn't kosher for the church.
There seems to have been a renaissance of the auld pagan Celtic ways in the past few decades--with the Wiccan religion being the most overt of these, even though Patrick and the church still hold sway over most of Ireland.
Ah well, I'm not here to completely bash the guy - as his feast seems a lot more lively than most of the other, dour X-tian saints.
Have yourselves a merry St. Paddy's Day - I'm chugging down some Guinness and listening to some Horslips,
Rory Gallagher and The Chieftains. Too-ra-loor-a-lay and that.