Today 1,000's of people worldwide will take to the streets of their town, city, or village to celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland. This annual celebration sees buildings, food, drinks and people turn 'green' for the day. Everyone wants to be Irish on March 17th.
I feel very fortunate to be Irish on this day as on every other day.
However, today will see numerous people drown their shamrocks. It's normal to get over intoxicated, fall on your ass and saunter home at some stage of the night. And it's also normal to find a number of under age kids drinking, getting sick, and making a complete fool of themselves. Such is the level of drinking alcohol that is now within our society.
I'm prone to a large glass of vino, or two, a few pints of Guinness, on many occasions. But St. Patrick's Day is the one day I refrain from such. It's a day I reminisce to my childhood and remember how I spent this day all those years ago.
As a child growing up in the 70's, my older sister, myself and our aunt would make the annual pilgrimage to our local St. Patrick's Well. Weather didn't interfere with our 3 mile walk. After mass on St. Patrick's Day morning, our aunt would collect us at our home and off we would set. We wouldn't be home until late evening or early night.
The walk would consist of us 3 chatting and eating sweets. My sister and I would be 'off' sweets for the six weeks of Lent but would be allowed to eat them on this day. On arrival at St. Patrick's well, we would kneel and say some prayers. We'd leave something behind, be it money, or a token of some sort, each year. The following year we would check to see if it was still there.
On leaving the well, we would then proceed to visiting almost every house en route back. Our aunt had many friends along this route and they all expected the annual visit on St. Patrick's Day. In each house my sister and I would get treats. We felt like royalty. The day always came to an end too quickly.
So for me St. Patrick's Day is about family, about togetherness and about celebrating who we all are. I don't need to drown a shamrock to celebrate being me. I don't need to get drunk to know I'm Irish and proud of it. So before today is out, I shall visit that same aunt and I will go to the local St. Patrick's well, just out of habit. I can go to the pub next weekend. It isn't going anywhere. Some things are just a tad more important.
Happy St. Patrick's Day one and all. Enjoy wherever you might be.