"No way November will see our goodbye; When it comes to December it's obvious why; No one wants to be alone at Christmas time; And come January we're frozen inside; Making new resolutions a hundred times; February, won't you be my valentine? And we'll both be safe 'til St. Patrick's Day."
That's John Mayer's ode to the festival and believe you me, there is so much more to St. Patrick's Day than stereotypical street demonstrations in green clothes with pinned shamrock appliques and an indiscriminate amount of drinking.
Going green: Celebrating Ireland and honoring St. Patrick
St. Patrick's Day is an annual public holiday in Ireland but an occasion marking worldwide celebrations on the 17th of March. Ireland literally turns green on that day. Extending that gesture, several landmarks around the world, such as the Opera House in Sydney and the Niagara Falls are bathed in a shade of emerald.
Celebrated since the 9th and 10th century AD, St. Patrick’s Day honours St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who brought Christianity to the region. This national holiday has evolved to grow into a global celebration of all things Irish, where people, irrespective of their origin, participate. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is more of a melting pot of cultural festivities rather than a rigid religious festival of sorts.
St Patrick’s Day and its present day influence
There's a substantial part pop culture that's grown in and around the holiday. As much as films and music, food and entertainment in general has taken inspiration from St. Patrick's Day, the festival itself has evolved, accommodated and grown to give a place to those facets.
There’s a compiled album of Bing Crosby’s phonograph records titled St. Patrick’s Day. Released in 1947, the album’s theme is distinctly Irish. It has several favorite numbers, including the Billboard-topping Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral.
Then there’s Patrick's Day, a Terry McMohan Irish drama film, released in 2014. It showcases the story of a schizophrenic young lad, Patrick, who’s lost amidst the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Dublin. His mother’s quest of finding him in the middle of chaos and celebration makes for quite an engaging watch.
The Office, an NBC comedy series on TV, dedicates its 19th episode of the sixth season to St. Patrick’s Day. The episode, titled the same as the festivity itself, shows Jo and Michael having a clash among themselves on Jo’s last day at the Scranton branch. All employees are quite angry with Jo as he makes them stay late at work on St. Patrick’s Day. What follows is hilarious to state the least.
Celebrate your day in style
You could celebrate Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day by calling over a small group of friends and family members and making a day out of it. It is Irish whiskey that should be the focal point of your celebrations and there is a wide variety that you could choose from. Jameson’s, Powers, Redbreast, and Midleton Very Rare make for an extensive Irish list.
Create an Irish playlist for some music in the background. You can’t not have U2 on your list. In addition, there’s all-time favorite Boyzone and Westlife that we’ve all listened to while growing up. My Bloody Valentine, Snow Patrol, and Kodaline could add that alternative touch to your playlist.
Indulge in a movie marathon with your close ones. The Field, In America, Far and Away, and Calvary are apt choices for the occasion. While Calvary explores the themes of family, community, and religion through dark humor, The Field dives deep into the changing socio-political landscape of Ireland. Far and Away and America showcase honest depictions of Irish immigrants.
Make it a complete affair with some good old cabbage and corned beef, Irish soda bread and a hearty slice of Shepherd's Pie.