Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone. This post really has nothing to do with Lent but it’s a good day to show off my Irishness.
First, like the title says, today is NOT Saint Patty’s Day. Patty is the familiar form of the female name Patricia. The male form, at least in Ireland, is Padraig. And the short form of Padraig is Paddy.
If you doubt the truth of this bit of history, in New York City the Paddy Wagon used to go around picking up our drunken ancestors. They were called Paddy so the horse-drawn police vehicle was called a Paddy Wagon. For more on the name Padraig, check this article on Wikipedia including a list of famous Paddys.
Currently the most famous Padraig is Padraig Harrington, the Irish golfer.
Need more proof? Paddy is a very popular whiskey in Ireland. It’s Paddy, not Patty.
Last, but not least, off-track betting is legal on the Emerald Isle, and the biggest legal bookie in the land is a company called Paddy Power. They’re huge and have betting parlors all over the country and in Great Britain.
As much as we hate to admit it, Saint Patrick (Padraig) wasn’t Irish at all. He was born in England and kidnapped by pirates who held him in Ireland. He escaped but returned later to bring Christianity to the country. Today he is the patron saint of the Irish (and those who wish they were Irish) and his feast day is celebrated all over the world. How important was he? Even today many bishops dispense their subjects from abstaining from meat today.
So, if you live in a diocese where it’s permitted, enjoy your corned beef and cabbage (something the Irish never eat), drink your green beer, and dance a jig or two, but keep in mind that is is a feast day for one of the most revered saints in history. (FYI, there never were any snakes in Ireland).