The OG Sham-RockStar

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tracing my roots, as far as I know, I am not Irish. I’m about every other nationality out there, but no relatives from Ireland. In fact, according to the 2006 census, only 12 percent of American citizens consider themselves Irish.

Regardless of their heritage, a lot of people plan to get wasted in March to honor St. Patrick. In the U.S. most cities have a parade and bars offer early drinking specials that include green beer. But why do we really celebrate St. Pat’s Day? Here’s a little history lesson…

* St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland that pays tribute to one of Christianity’s most widely known figures.

* According to, little is really known about St. Pat – most of the stories that are out there about the holy rockstar are not true. The poor dude’s life is now summed up by a number of drunk, exaggerated, barfly storytelling.

* We party on the 17th of March because that is the day P-diddy is believed to have passed away.

* Pat, Pat, Rat-ta-ta-tat, was kidnapped from his homeland of Britain at age 16 by a group of Irish raiders and taken to Ireland. There, he spent six years in captivity where he worked as a shepherd. The outdoors were lonely, so Pat passed time by becoming a devout Christian.

* After those six years, Pat received a calling that he needed to help convert the Irish into Christians. P-diddy was successful, the Catholics named him a saint and the Irish gave him a national holiday.

* In the early part of the 17th century the day became a Roman Catholic day of obligation in Ireland. However, if the 17th falls of a Friday of Lent, catholic people cannot eat meat. Sometimes the date is even moved. For example, in 2008 it was observed on March 15th to avoid Palm Sunday.

*Blue was typically the color associated with the Saint himself, but the people of Ireland traded blue for the country’s trademark green. I guess when you invent a holiday for some dude you make the rules. The reasoning is that the color green and shamrocks are signs of Irish nationalism. This tradition began around the 1750’s.

* The first U.S. St. Pat’s parade was held in Boston in 1737 and organized by the Irish Society of Boston.

Think you have the biggest St. P party? Tomorrow Shot of Brandi* will touch on ways cities around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and where some of the largest keggers take place.