Happy Wear and Consume Green Things Day! As someone of Irish descent, I hear grumbling about how the holiday perpetuates the drunken Irish stereotype. From those who enjoy wearing green and drinking, I hear "Woo! Yay holiday!" Fellow pagans spend time complaining that the "snakes" St Patrick drove away were in fact the Druids and this day celebrates the persecution of ancient pagans. Then I hear some more about how the Irish were once discriminated against too, and this holiday is a nice reminder to appreciate Irish culture and that there was a time when we didn't--nor were we necessarily proud to be Irish.
You might be thinking, "Can't we all just shut up and drink our green beer?"
This holiday isn't going away. I live in Boston where it's been enshrined into almost religious significance, on par with the Red Sox and bitching about the MBTA. So folks, here's my suggestion: spin it into something positive. Discrimination and prejudice sucks, m'kay? Maybe after you're wearing beer goggles everyone looks the same and you can party with your neighbor instead of worrying about their nationality, religion, hair color, or ethnicity. Alcohol is the great equalizer and besides, who doesn't look good wearing green?
Perhaps I am being a bit too flip, but there's a core of seriousness to this post. I think we've lost our ability to allow ourselves a chance to just celebrate for the fuck of it versus turning it into a sounding board/soap box for our pet cause. The holidays are notorious for either "Putting the Christ in Christmas", "The pagans were honoring Mithras long before you were born", or "Hannukah isn't even a high holy day!", so it's almost a given that there's a longstanding tradition of making holidays into either a religious or political issue. We as a culture have forgotten how to have fun. We're too busy telling little kids Santa isn't real, handing out religious pamphlets, or yelling in editorials about minorities being oppressed.
Am I saying discrimination isn't real? Hell bells, no. I still run into bullshit in regards to pagan belief and actually worked at a job where a co-worker overheard me talking of deity in the plural, pulled me aside and said, "You shouldn't talk like that in front of everyone." This was for a government job. And yeah, in regards to stereotypes the drunken Irish thing probably stopped being funny a while back too, but even I snickered at the "Irish yoga" shirt:
It's inevitable that I've offended someone by this blog post. If you are, I can only state the following from the bottom of my heart: "It's not easy being green."
Love & Magic,