Why I won't be celebrating St. Patrick's Day
I'm going to go out on a limb here and talk about something completely unrelated to my usual food/fitness talk, because I think it's worth sharing. [Edit: I have to add the note that all I'm trying to do here is to shed light on some blind spots on a history that few people who celebrate Saint Patrick's Day even know about. I think it's important to understand part of the origins of a day your choosing to celebrate]:
The pub crawls, the shamrock stickers, the green food dyed Baileys shots, the "Kiss me I'm Irish" t-shirts... If you lived any part of your teen/adult years anywhere in North America, Ireland, or the British Isles, I can assume that you've all taken part in the St. Patrick's Day celebration madness at one time or another.
However, when I first got to learn about the other side of the Saint Patrick's Day story, I haven't actively sought to take part in the partying anymore. Why? Didn't St. Patrick's Day just "drive the snakes out of Ireland" and bring Christianity to the Emerald Isle? What's wrong with that? Weren't you raised Catholic?
Well, here's the deal, just because I ascribe to a certain spirituality or religion doesn't mean I believe in killing in the name of God (or anyone for that matter). Crusades? Not okay. Fundamentalist suicide bombings? Not so much. To clear the story up, as you can imagine, there aren't really that many "snakes" to drive out of Ireland. Serpents were one of the primary symbols in many pagan religions in Ireland at the time. Essentially, "driving the snakes out" is a nice allegory for driving the Pagans out of Ireland. And no, they weren't shipped off an a boat to somewhere else, they weren't asked to leave, as was the tradition of the time, you can imagine that this actually meant that they were either a) converted or b) killed. It's probably of no surprise to also hear that conversion at the time (again, think Crusades) wasn't exactly a friendly sit-down talk.
Why don't we hear this much? Isn't it obvious? The pre-Christian Irish had no written history, only oral histories. As the Druids and Bards were killed so too were the stories. If you pass down your history through oral tradition, kill the source of the story, and they disappear.
Layer 3: sundried tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, pumpkin seeds, & carrots