The wearing of the green

Today is St. Patrick’s Day 2014 and, for all of you who are not wearing green today, shame on you – you have a pinch coming.

March 17 has been celebrated for centuries in honor of an Irish saint who helped Christianize that land in the fourth and fifth centuries. He supposedly used a shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity to his converts.

In any event, the religious holiday we mark today honors his efforts to replace Ireland’s druidism with Christianity. He toiled for three decades as a bishop on the Emerald Isle, and this date marking his death in 461 remains a holy day in both the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.

Legend credits him with driving all the snakes out of Ireland, but Internet sources indicate the country probably never had any after the Ice Age.

Modern celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day tend to focus more on secular things like parades, parties, festivals and Irish whiskey. One of the interesting things we found while researching this piece is that the town of Dripsey in the Irish County of Cork supposedly has the shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade. It is only 100 yards long – the distance between the town’s two pubs.

Here in the United States, many of us will also celebrate with a corned beef and cabbage dinner, cooked up with a bunch of potatoes and other veggies. Perhaps, we’ll raise a stout or two in salute to St. Paddy.

So, as a sign on the Guinness Brewery Warehouse in Dublin says, “Everyone’s Irish on March 17th.” Put on some green, have some corned beef and celebrate – moderately – the Patron Saint of Ireland.

(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.