I don’t understand how St. Patrick’s Day has gotten equated with getting drunk. But then again, to be fair, every holiday in America is equated with that. Holidays are hard for those of us in recovery.
Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day are both ethnic holidays where people who aren’t even of that ethnicity get roaringly drunk. People who don’t even know anything about the culture they are celebrating before they start to drink get so bombed that they don’t even know anything about their own culture by the time they are done. But it isn’t just these holidays. New Year’s, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day – you name it, if there is a holiday, Americans are drinking to it.
Perhaps we collectively have a holiday problem. Perhaps we are just so wound up from our jobs and our families and our lives that we feel we have to escape, at least mentally, every time there is a holiday. Instead, perhaps we need to create lives that don’t need to be escaped from. This doesn’t mean we need to get a better paying job or a bigger house or more friends. This means we need to start appreciating what we have now.
Here’s a different perspective – how about we think of St. Patrick’s Day as about celebrating the persistence of the heart of Celtic life amidst adversity. The Irish suffered greatly at home and then in America a century ago. They were the “immigrant problem” of the time. They were turned away from jobs just because they were Irish. They were mocked for their culture and language. To be Irish means to endure despite hardship and to keep your true nature intact in spite of a culture that wants you to assimilate.
This is something that transcends culture and ethnicity. For all of us who are staying true to your inner Self and not yielding to a culture that tells you to buy more, be mindless, to not care – I say that you can claim to be Irish, regardless of your ethnicity. St. Patrick’s Day shouldn’t be a drinking holiday. It should be a holiday about persistence and endurance. It is an Exodus story. It is about finding a safe place to be who we truly are. Let us remember everything we have gone through to get where we are.