The Irish are not too hung up on rules and regulations, but there are few do’s and don’ts for our national day. Avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the day!
It’s upon us! Lá fhéile Pádraig! It’s our day to celebrate the emerald isle. And let’s be clear about one thing from the get go. It is not St. Patty’s Day. We aren’t celebrating some kind of burger. No one in Ireland goes by Patty. We have meat patties. People are called Paddy. Or occasionally Pat. But not patty. Just no. It is St. Patrick’s Day or Paddy’s Day. Or lá fhéile Pádraig if you want to be seriously authentic about it.
While we’re on the subject of what to say and what not to say, ‘Erin go bragh’ is fine. ‘May the road rise to meet you’ is also good. Unless you are auditioning for the part of a very cheesy leprechaun, do not say ‘top of the morning to you’. If someone greets you with that, you can simply smile and cheerfully reply ‘póg mo thóin’. Those who think ‘top of the morning’ is an Irish greeting are not so likely to realize you are telling them to kiss your arse. In the event of hurt feelings, simply raise a glass and shout the authentic Irish toast ‘sláinte’, which means health.
About the Wearing of the Green…
Green is a beautiful color for many things. Emerald jewelry is undeniably stunning. Shamrocks are green. Green represents Ireland. So have fun with it. Wear your favorite green clothes. Put on some green face paint and temporary tattoos. Bedeck yourself with sparkling green shamrock jewelry. Heck, dye your hair green if it floats your boat! Bake green shamrock shaped cookies. With a little food dye, you can even have scrambled green eggs.
Your choices of how to turn your world green for Paddy’s Day are almost unlimited. There are, however, a few caveats.
Obviously, you should stick to decorating your own home and property. This is not the day to paint bomb that annoying neighbor. Leave it up to your municipal authority to dye any local rivers or fountains green. Oh, and just one other thing… for the love of all that is Irish, do not drink green beer. Ireland really is not a nation of snobs, but when it comes to beer, well, we are a bit sniffy about any of that stuff that is light enough to color green. It might be nice enough beer, but it is not Irish.
See, Irish beer is stout, and it is dark. It cannot and should not be dyed green. But it does have a nice foamy head on it that you can trace a shamrock into, and that’s much, much better. Drink it in a green glass even. Put on some green-tinted shades so everything looks green. But remember, Ireland’s patron saint drove the pale, watery beer out of Ireland along with the snakes.
One last tip, be aware that you might hear a lot of Blarney about St. Patrick.