March 17th was saint Patrick’s Day, an occasion for much celebration and joviality in these United States. Not so much anywhere else, inclusive of Ireland itself. Himself is the national saint of the island of Eire, both the northern and southern portions, the two being divided quite radically politically, religiously, economically, and by societal influence.
The combined British. Manx and Eiren isles have a whole plethora of saints, three separate icons for the British mainland and two for Ireland. The Isle of Man is very much a place unique unto itself, sharing influences from both its larger neighbors as well as some rather singular aspects of its own, as would be expected of a place whose survival was for centuries dependent not on defensive force but an ability to lean in whatever direction was currently favorable. The historical religious and cultural influences of the Manx people are worthy of a whole epistle on their own, so momentarily I will simply note that they are mystical and magical to themselves alone.
Ireland theoretically celebrates two saints, Patrick in the southern portions, George towards the north. The geography follows the approximate divide between the catholic and protestant religions and the populations inherent political fealty. Faith and politics are particularly divisive in the Irish counties, sports and sociability have thankfully recently become quite integrated.
A liquid celebration of Paddies Day is appropriate throughout Ireland, public houses will be bedecked green for the occasion. An equal party takes place on the twelfth ofJuly in the north alone, in remembrance of the battle of the Boyne, with orange flags being widely displayed. The Irish flag is a green, white, and orange tricolor, acknowledging a large sense of national unity beyond petty squabbling.
The United States with many another outcrop of Irish immigration celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day with great abandon, but in a manner for removed from the Roman Catholic purpose. The day has become but another observance on the calendar of party worthy occasions, much like Christmas day and Easter Sunday.