Why St. Patrick’s Day is The Worst Holiday on the Planet
Posted Mar 17 2011 9:04am
I grew up in a heavily saturated Irish Catholic town here in Boston. While I embraced that part of my heritage in my early years, it wasn’t until I was of drinking age where I no longer enjoyed…life… on March 17th.
My younger days, we enjoyed our 3 day weekend (Evacuation Day) or Spring break, depending on the year. I wore green as to not get pinched, ate shamrock cookies. And my favorite part, Irish dinner! Corned beef, boiled cabbage & Irish soda bread.
In high school I was in ROTC so I got to march in the biggest s*itshow parade in Boston. This is my first memory of hating this day. At 10am, the streets of Southie were already swarmed with drunkards and hooligans. I’m in my dress blues, holding the American flag and I remember thinking to myself “THIS is why I’m here?”. While a large percentage of parade watchers were respectful, clapping and cheering, the other 15% just absolutely ruined it for me. Throwing red plastic cups at us, throwing up green beer at our feet, tossing some sort of shamrock encrusted decoration at us. It felt like a smelly green war zone.
Ever try taking the T during said festivities? Might as well walk, unless you don’t mind dodging vom fountains. They have beefed up security over the years, but it’s still not worth it to me. I did love how festive my hometown got, but it was overload. I mean my town… was….Irish-Catholic. Maybe you’ve heard of it ? All the shamrock and green jewelry, all the window displays, the green sweaters. It was all green all Irish-pride from Valentine’s Day to Easter. And rightfully so! To this day, my Nana’s favorite color is green.
By the time I reached drinking age, I was already suffering PTSD from the previous years, and I just never wanted to take part of the debauchery. Go to church, maybe. Eat dinner with my family, definitely. But you would never see me in a bar.
I started working at one.
I went through 3 years of St. Patrick’s Day festivities at a famous bar in Boston. By the time I was through, I had my therapist on speed dial. If you don’t know, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a day… it’s a week. A week of bag pipes, Irish Dancers, drunken Oh Danny Boy singalongs…and my least favorite of all: The Dropkick Murphys. This Boston based Irish-punk band, while so awesome, when put on repeat for 180+ hours, it tends to make you want to punch yourself in the face.
I even had the pleasure of coordinating the entertainment for said bar. I had to listen to demos, call bands, plan time slots, design flyers, emails etc. It was all Irish, all the time.
When the show got on the road, we were maxed at legal capacity all the time. Couldn’t squeeze through, couldn’t find a dry spot on the floor, couldn’t take a break. Couldn’t.Get.Away. The stereo blared ‘Tessie’ for the 34th time that day, the shamrocks posted on the walls were just mocking you, the Guinness and Baileys flowed like poison and you looked around for a green-beer puddle big enough to drown yourself. A little dramatic? Perhaps
It wasn’t until I was older, that I realized I could actually avoid this holiday all together. So I used every chance I get to fly out of Boston during this week, and go to Florida to visit my Aunt. Who makes me an awesome Irish Boiled Dinner! No one it northern Florida even celebrates or recognizes St. Patrick’s day. It was a dream come true.
Now that I am out of school, into an office and out of my hometown, I have slowly warmed up to the idea of attempting to enjoy it again. Last year, I even wore a green shirt AND ate a green cupcake, without crying and rocking myself in corner. Not like I’d ever turn down a cupcake. This will also be the first year I don’t have to be on or around public transit. That is a major plus.
I know some people who look forward to St. Patrick’s Day and for some, it may not even affect them. I’m sure I am in the minority of people who despise this drinking holiday, and I’m sure you now understand why. The original story of St. Patrick, is that he was taken from Britian and become a slave in Ireland. He escaped and made it back to Britian and joined the church. Returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop, and spent the rest of his life trying to convert pagans into Christians. The Shamrock? He used it to explain to explain the Holy Trinity.
So clearly, this uber religious holiday should be spent drinking, falling down drunk and listening to punk music. Just like God wanted.
I’m being cynical…. and grossly sarcastic.
I hope one day to enjoy a delicious boiled dinner, listen to some Celtic Women and wear my “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” button. But until then, the only Irish jig I’ll be doing is on my couch hiding under the blankie waiting for the bag-pipes to stop…