The Helean family has always celebrated St. Patrick’s day in full and with love for Ireland.
We come from a long line of Irish family members on my dad’s side.
Typically, the way people celebrate the day is by wearing green and going to some bar to get drunk. Then, they work off the hangover until Cinco de Mayo rolls around.
My family and I have never celebrated that way.
When I was a kid, my parents would help me build a Leprechaun trap and I would get a reward each time I “caught” one. The last time we did it, I got a little gnome statue which now radiates good luck from a mantel in my parent’s house.
As I got older and the fanciful, childish beliefs that I had started to fade away, St. Patrick’s Day became a day to follow Irish traditions.
No, drinking yourself to death was not one of them. That “tradition” is actually more of a stereotype than anything.
That being said, Irish people do drink a lot. Ireland, however, is not the leading country for drinking, it would seem. According to Global Drinking Demographics, Russia is the country to beat because they collectively consumed an average of 326 servings per person in a single year.
St. Patrick’s Day is actually a Catholic holiday. St. Patrick was a Catholic saint who lived in the fifth century and became known for spreading Christianity to the then-pagan population of Ireland. He was born in Britain and was sold into slavery in Ireland. He eventually escaped but returned after having a dream which called him to spread the Gospel to the pagan tribes.
As the non-religious type, I choose to celebrate by watching movies with Irish settings like “Waking Ned Devine,” “The Commitments,” “The Quiet Man” or “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.” We also listen to Celtic Woman, the Wolfe Tones and the Dropkick Murphys.
My dad usually puts together some corn beef and we enjoy a hearty meal.
It has also been tradition for us hate on England for a bit. I won’t go into a full history lesson of why, so here is a website explaining it if you are interested: https://www.history.co.uk/history-of-the-northern-ireland-conflict.
My favorite part of St. Patrick’s Day, though, is when we take out my great-grandma’s four-leaf clover encased in a glass broach. It is a real one which she picked herself on the Isle of Man.
I would advise people to remember that alcohol is not the be all and end all of St. Paddy’s day. If you are going to drink, drink to enjoy it and not just to get drunk. Also, please don’t drink and drive. That is definitely not an Irish tradition.
If you truly want to celebrate the wearing of the green day, try looking into Irish folk music and dancing or learn about the Gaelic language.