On St. Patrick’s Day a Christian FB friend posted a thoughtful question. How do pagan’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day since its namesake had converted Irish pagans to Christianity? I appreciatedthis question being asked. I tried to reply and then found I had too much to say for just a comment. So here we are!
I’ve seen pagans angry about this holiday because of it’s religious significance as an aggressive triumph over Irish pagans and they refuse to recognize it. And, yes, some just don’t care about the significance and just want a reason to party.
I’ve also experienced a service where we bow our heads in recognition, honoring and respect of our ancestor’s struggles and possible deaths during this time in history. Some for fear of pain, death or some other threat. Some, I’m sure, decided to convert because it made sense to them, some for the wealth promised or the golden ticket to heaven. Some continued their pagan ways even though the church breathed down upon their rites. Which is probably one of the reasons we may have some practices nowadays that seem similar to catholic ritual. (I know some of you don’t want to admit it! But most of the old ways were oral tradition and not written down lost over time during the Inquisition, Dark Ages, persecution forcing our ancestors underground.)
They hid their ritual tools among their other everyday tools to avoid suspicion. Took a rosary to the pew and spelled rather than prayed or prayed to the Goddess/God. Saw Brigit placed among the Saints and it made the transition easier filling the Catholic numbers. Seen Mary risen to the Goddess status before them as the waymaker for their needs of the divine. Even Jesus plays his part as the sacrificial God who gives his lifeblood for continuation of his children and then is risen again every year to do it again and again. But as the Sun God before him, he serves the purpose of paralleling the decline of sunlight and the sleeping of the earth, when it is dark and humanity suffers separated or survives united in the warmth of love, generosity, forgiveness and the reminder that we are promised light after a time of darkness.
*phew* Stepping away from the podium, away from the altar. haha
In regards to why we have gotten away from the religious significance and now it’s all a party! Well, I think the USA being the melting pot that it is and our general movement toward acknowleging our oneness as a global people and yet embracing diversity we have given St. Patrick’s Day the place of celebrating the Irish! Irish folks are stereotypically alchohol-lovers and a rowdy bunch so how else would one celebrate that than a party? And because of this focus on the culture/ancestory/heritage many people delve into the history and find that there is much folklore and superstitions leading to leprechauns, fairies, etc.
I’m not sure where pinching someone who isn’t wearing green comes from ( maybe it has something to do with those mischeivious wee folk), but I’ll wear green anyway to avoid being pinched. You wanna get on my bad side, just try and pinch me. I’m helping people by wearing green the way I see it. : )
I would love to know how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or what you think of this topic, so please leave a comment if you feel compelled to do so.