The Lowdown on St. Patrick’s Day

By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW

Saint Patrick’s Day comes in many forms, shapes, and myths. It’s one of those ‘social holidays' we celebrate with delight, but do we even know what it’s all about?

You won’t find the term “social holiday” in the dictionary. It’s something I just made up but it seems to fit one of those days we celebrate and party, but we don’t get a paid day off work.

Then again, you either get nothing done in anticipation of the after-office party at the local watering hole, or you're out sick the next day from “Bad Corned Beef”. Nope, substitute the usual bad chicken or food poisoning excuse for an over loaded sandwich, green beer and too many choruses of ‘Danny Boy'.

St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, and the holiday  began as a religious feast, and somewhere it took a very wrong turn into something that has no resemblance to religion.

Sound familiar?

Although there are 450 churches named for St. Patrick in the United States, the most famous is the one in New York City. A tourist attraction as well, which has over 5.5 million visitors a year and holds mass daily.

St. Patrick was born in Britain, not Ireland, and at the age of 16, Irish raiders captured him, where he was held and lived six years as a shepard. He then reached out to religion for his solace and became a Christian. Patrick eventually escaped from Ireland, and later returned as a priest and converted the pagan population to Christianity.

The Big Apple is also famous for the St. Patty’s Day Parade. A 2.1-mile route which takes a painful 5-6 hours from beginning to end, features about 150 bands with 150,00 to 250,000 marchers--depending on how many special interests groups are permitted to march or not, knowing that another group can.

Yes, even an excuse to drink beer and overeat has it’s religious and moral overtones, not to mention politics.

Nearly 122 million people celebrate the day, which comes out to about 39% of the population. 83% wear green (the other 17% are color blind), 34% make a special dinner, 31% attend a party and 25 % of you decorate your home or office. This one will surprise you--we exchange about 8 million St. Patrick’s Day Cards...have you ever received one?

Good, I thought I was the only one who didn’t.

Let’s get to the beef and cabbage of this article--how bad are we really on this day?

As a Road Warrior, perhaps you delivered some of the 13 million pints of Guinness that will be consumed. Or the 70% increase in cabbage deliveries. Oddly enough, the statistics on how much corned beef we consume are all over the plate, you know when you’ve reached your limit!

For those of you who observe lent and do not eat meat on Fridays, you have a religious dilemma on your hands. Each state's Diocese seems to have a separate plan for their parishioners, instead of a blanket Catholic rule from the Vatican. Some allow you to partake and sacrifice something else that day (beer is not a good substitute), and of course there are those hard liner Cardinals who insist on the fish.

The again, you can celebrate the day by reporting to Marine Corps bootcamp like I did in 1983.  I followed the Delta Airlines rainbow, but trust me there was no pot of gold waiting for me on Parris Island.

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself Road Warriors, but do so responsibly, and be safe.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from all of us at US Road Warriors!

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