Wednesday next comes with a very special distinction, as we all are sure to know. It is a day both blessed and cursed, for it celebrates one of the patrons of my homeland. I call it cursed in observance of the many here in the States who celebrate it in entirely the wrong manner. You see, St. Patrick's Day is the occasion on which the Irish of the world rejoice in their collective heritage, while the Irish of Ireland honor St. Patrick. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you all, our devoted readers, the proper means by which one may celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
To perform this most righteous ritual, you will need:
- Something green
- A church
- Irish soda bread
- Atlantic Salmon or lamb stew
- A 4-leaf clover
When morning rises on St. Patrick's Day, dress yourself accordingly. Put on something green! Not everything green, or some plastic bowler hat with “kiss me I'm Irish” emblazoned all over it in large, bold letters. A simple touch of green- a green tie, or pin, or ribbons dangling from what was once a woman's shirt, tied around your right arm. I wouldn't recommend cutting said shirt from the woman's body at Tavern, though, there's a rule against that (now). The green is meant to be a subtle homage, because in Ireland, green is everywhere you look! Outside of Ireland, it tends to show itself on the envious faces of lads admiring the bonny contours of an Irish colleen latched to the arm of another man. It also shows itself on the faces of the non-Irish who claim Irish blood as an excuse to drink green-tinged beer, but I'll get into that later.
Once dressed in appropriate attire, your first stop should be morning mass. After all, this is a Saint's holiday, and Patrick was rather known for his habit of preaching to the unconverted pagans of the Emerald Isle. While Patrick was not the first Catholic to set foot on Irish soil, he was among the first to bring the message to the “unwashed” masses. If you can't make it to morning mass, at least pop into a church and say a prayer for family and friends. If you're pagan like myself, take a moment out from your day to remember those who came before, and give your
thanks for those who are yet to come.
While out and about, be sure to greet everyone you see with a heartfelt “beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! (buh-KNOCK-tuh na FEEL puh-DRAYG ar-RAY),” which means “St. Patrick's Day Blessings to you!” Also, bear in mind that giving a wee pinch to anyone not wearing green on this special is a time-honored tradition in Ireland. Just keep in mind that decking people who pinch you is also a time-honored Irish tradition.
Going to mass and doing all that pinching while you're out is sure to work up an appetite, so reach for the corned beef and cabbage, right? No! Make yourself a pot of lamb stew, with plenty of potatoes and carrots, or a make a meal of an unsuspecting Atlantic Salmon or Whitefish. Any of these three are far more Irish than the American tradition of corned beef and cabbage. Be sure to eat your meal with a bit of Irish soda bread, but make it yourself- the stuff in the stores is far too sweet and confectionary to pass muster. Wash it down with a good measure of a fine brew- a nice, dark stout. Guinness is ideal. What about green beer, you ask? To make beer turn green it has to be pale enough to take food coloring, which automatically makes it unworthy for an Irishman to drink. Granted, an Irishman will generally drink whatever's poured for him, but when toasting “slainte (SLAUN-cha)” to St. Patrick, use real alcohol to honor a real man. Speaking of which, toast with “slainte!” instead of some terrible overused drivel. You'll be saying “to your health!” and wishing any and all within earshot a great many happy returns.
Last but not least, if you can find one, adorn yourself with a four-leaf clover. If you eat one, it's sure to bring you luck and love. Put one in the heel of your left shoe and you'll marry the next person who comes in the room! Just make sure it's not your cousin. Or Jim.
So, this St. Patrick's day, do something right. Show your true Irish pride, be your blood green or orange. And do it at the Tavern, where we'll be performing in accordance with our own St. Patrick's Day traditions! Come out and hear some good Irish fiddle, folk songs, and let me drink you under the table (or on it)!