Feeling Pressured on St. Patrick's Day

By Leca
@lecanis (16664)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
March 15, 2007 6:14pm CST
Okay, I know St. Patricks' Day is modernly seen as a general celebration of Irish Heritage, and by many, as simply an excuse to get drunk. However, originally, the point of St. Patrick's day was to celebrate St. Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. So here's my issue: I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I am half Irish, and I love to celebrate my heritage, but I have no particular reason to venerate St. Patrick. If anything, he and fellow Christians of his day did harm to the religion that I follow. But since St. Patrick's Day has become seen as a secular thing, much ado is made over it, including in the workplace. And every single year I have to inform everyone there that if they pinch me for not wearing green, I will consider it a physical attack and respond accordingly. I know I seem a little extreme on this issue, but I honestly don't think I should be forced to take part in a holiday that I don't agree with. Does anyone else have issues with St. Patrick's Day? If you are a non-Christian, do you choose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day or not, and why do you make that choice?
11 people like this
29 responses
@mummymo (23707)
15 Mar 07
First let me say that NO_ONE should force you to celebrate ANYTHING that you do not want to! I am a christian but that doesn't mean that I would shove my beliefs down your throat! I know sometimes it is ridiculous but people do tend to tease you more if you seem uptight about things so instead of getting uptight why not just try smiling and telling them you do not believe in this celebration but you hope that they sure have a great time? Hope it works for you!
3 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
15 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! This is some really good advice. I'll try my best to be light-hearted about the whole thing, and hope that helps. I don't really want to cause a scene, and I really do hope they enjoy their holiday! Thanks so much!
1 person likes this
@ragemdw (78)
• United States
16 Mar 07
St Patrick's Day like Every Christian Holiday has become very secular. Look at them all...Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine's Day. I celebrate St Patricks Day because I enjoy my heritage. There is no requirement in celebrating the holiday that says you have to get drunk. I enjoy the good time that it allows me to have. I agree that the pinching is kind of stupid and immature. I would suggest that that "tradition" is ridiculous. The key thing to remember is that St Patricks Day was a day to pray for missionaries and like all the commercialized holidays it is important not to forget the true meaning of these holidays.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
I'm not sure you understood what I was saying here. While the commercialized version is vaguely annoying, it is actually the Christian part of the holiday that keeps me from celebrating it. I don't want to pray for missionaries. While I don't wish harm upon them, I don't believe in trying to convert people. In fact, it's the "true meaning" of many Christian holidays that keeps me from celebrating them, because I'm not Christian.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Mar 07
Ok so if there was an Irish Heritage Day with no connection to Christianity would you celebrate?
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Sure. I celebrate my heritage all the time. I listen to certain music because of it, study Irish history, tell stories my great-grandmother taught me, etc. I don't need a specific day to do it, but if there were one I would do so.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
16 Mar 07
If you can't tell by my name I'm very Irish, mostly Irish actually, and I'm also pagan. I celebrate St. Patricks day not for him but for the heritage of my ancestors who came from Ireland. I celebrate the folklore that came from the land, the stories, the food, the history of the people. Yes I will wear green and I will make corned beef and cabbage or a beef stew. I will probably watch the movie Luck of the Irish with my niece (deals with leperchauns and it's a cute movie) and if I'm lucky I'll have Finian's Rianbow to watch as well. Do I celebrate the man who tried to drive out the older faiths? No. I don't celebrate that for any person. I don't agree with forcing one faith onto another. I can celebrate my heritage without celebrating what he tried to accomplish. Do I expect others to celebrate that day? No. They can if they so wish but other then that no I don't. And I agree if someone pinchs me I would think of it as assualt and respond accordingly. There is no excuse for being rude and abusive with anyone. You have the right not to celebrate anything if you so choose and no one should try to make you or make you feel bad for not doing so. You do what you feel is right for you, not for anyone else.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I was hoping to hear the opinions of other pagans on this topic. =) I can understand why you made that decision, and I respect it. I don't think it's "wrong" for you to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at all. I just don't choose to. Thanks for giving such a detailed response. I really appreciate it.
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
16 Mar 07
You're welcome :) Everyone should be free to make their own choice in life about everything and others should respect that choice.
2 people like this
@DeenaD (2688)
• United States
16 Mar 07
It's a big deal where I live. We have one of the biggest parades in the country, with more people visiting on parade day than live in the city. (Actually, we had our St. Patrick's Day parade on the 10th this year, I don't know why...) Anyway, you are entitled to your opinion on the holiday, but you might be happier if you lightened up a bit and enjoyed the silliness of it all, rather than try to separate yourself from others out of anger or annoyance at them. Just my two cents.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I appreciate the advice, but honestly I am not trying to separate myself from others out of anger or annoyance at them. It has nothing to do with the other people at all, it's a religious thing for me. I do not wish to celebrate holidays devoted to people whose actions were harmful for my religion. I know the modern incarnation of St. Patrick's Day has little to do with St. Patrick himself, but it still bears his name, and his name is still associated with bringing Christianity to Ireland, and thus causing those who chose not to convert to be persecuted.
1 person likes this
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
15 Mar 07
Since I don't drink and am no longer Catholic and green is one of my least favorite colors, I totally ignore the holiday or whatever you call it. I think it is perfectly ok for you to pass on the festivities. To be forced into celebrating something you could care less about is ludicrous. If St Patty suddenly turns Polish, I might be willing to do a Polish jig.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Those sound like some very good reasons for not celebrating! Thanks for responding!
1 person likes this
@kurtbiewald (2628)
• United States
15 Mar 07
I celebrate it , in my own way. I get mildly drunk on Guinness, may or may not hit a few Irish pubs , 1/16th Irish here Gonna make some corn beef too, I already bought it When the shamrocks are flying its magic, might as well get in touch with it, its our inheritance from ancestors, always powerful for every culture, especially Irish, take a sip of Guinness and eat some corn beef and spuds, then some Irish music, real Irish music , haunting with words we don't understand, the feel it for awhile.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
15 Mar 07
I very much believe in inheritance from my ancestors, but apparently my idea of what I inherited is a little different from yours. =p Thanks for your reply, and for sharing your plans. I also celebrate my Irish heritage, throughout the year, through food, music, the learning of history, and sharing stories of Ireland that I learned from my great-grandmother, who was born there. I just don't do St. Patrick's Day, for the reason stated above.
1 person likes this
@Bytemi (1553)
• United States
16 Mar 07
I agree, I do not celebrate St. Patrick's day either. I keep telling my step-daughter that I Italian not Irish and if I don't want to wear green I shouldn't have to and every year she pinches me and gives me a hard time. I can't believe that we are teaching our kids that is OK not respect other peoples beliefs, because that is what the pinch is, is a disrespecting my beliefs. I don't want to wear green, I don't own anything green and I don't want to spend money on something I am going to pull out of my closet once a year to appease everyone else.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Mar 07
I don't celebrate at all. I see it also as a reason to get drunk. Since I don't drink, I have no reason to go out. It's way too dangerous to be on the roads with all those drunks. I hate when people pinch someone for not wearing green.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Mar 07
I'm not Irish but I would love to be. So ST Patrick's day is my one day to be honoray Irish.But no one should be forced to celebrate St Patrick's Day. I like that you warned your co-workers about the pinching.I thought pinching was for thev children not adults anyway. I can see if you are Wicca or a Druid or you practice another Celtic religion St Patrick's Day would be considered a day of mourning.I never thoght about the religious part of the holiday. I was too busy making sure I was wearing my green and listening to The Chieftans.I hope you have a good March 17th. Hey its on a Saturday, unless you work on Saturtdays you won't have to worry about pinching co-workers!
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
15 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I hope you have a lovely March 17th as well, however you choose to celebrate it. =) I am part of a Celtic religion. I refer to myself as Celtic Reconstrucionist, or just Celtic pagan. You're right, for me it seems a sad part of history rather than a part to be celebrated, and it's hard sometimes when no can understand that I feel that way. Thanks so much for understanding! I really wonder where the whole pinching thing came from. I've had it happen since I was a little girl, even at school or work, places where you'd think such bullying would be properly dealt with. It is very silly and childish, but I'm sure at least one of my coworkers would do it. Since St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday (a day most of them don't work), many of my coworkers are celebrating in on Friday at work, mainly thanks to one girl who is Irish and makes a really big deal of it. That's fine, and I don't mind if they celebrate it, but I just want to be left out of it. Unfortunately I have to work Saturday as well, so I have to deal with the whole thing twice.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Mar 07
Oh well, try to have a good weekend anyway.
1 person likes this
@Denmarkguy (1845)
• United States
18 Mar 07
I have zero Irish heritage. The closest my ancestors get to "Irish" would be that the Vikings once upon a time marauded and settled parts of Ireland. St. Patrick's Day pretty much passes unnoticed for me. When I used to work in a "regular" job and was married to someone with a LOT of Irish heritage, I used to wear green underwear on St. Patrick's day and would give people a hard time about "wrongful pinching." I sort of mooned a couple of people, to make my point... and got filed away in the "truly weird person" category, and otherwise was left alone. On the whole, I just give myself permission to not care, one way or the other.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
18 Mar 07
*laughs* Oh that's a lovely way of dealing with it, wearing green underwear. =p
• United States
17 Mar 07
A small piece of my hertiage if irish so I love the day of green. I know the real history behind it because I did it for a newspaper story in college. Christinaity was brought to Ireland and well it was a good thing but its now another worldly holiday. I actually dont agree with the drinking and stuff. I only wear green that day so I dont get pintched. My sister loves green and will probably wear lots tomorrow (though she works) I dont really have issues with the holiday though. If I did, I'd have to say the same for valentines day and christmas and easter and stuff. Its all the same thing they do to all holidays. I only hate halloween truly.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
17 Mar 07
Thanks for your response. Why is it that you hate Halloween, if I might ask?
• United States
16 Mar 07
I do think you should just celebrate an Irish heritage day whenever you choose or try to make a holiday based on being Irish or something like that. See I am of Irish ancestory myself I do celebrate St. Patrick's day not as an excuse to get drunk I don't even drink. But, for what St. Patrick's day stands for and it is not exactly about Ireland itself it is more about how St. Patrick came and brought christian beliefs to Ireland. So, if you do not have those beliefs just don't celebrate it and make a day of your own to celebrate your Irish heritage of it's own. Don't feel pressured just do your own thing it is only one day during the year you can handle it. It would be great if there was something out there that we can just celebrate our Irish pride not just St. Patrick who wasn't even Irish anyways.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
17 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! You make a very good point in that St. Patrick wasn't even Irish himself! Thanks! I do wish there were an Irish Heritage day. It would be lovely to be able to celebrate with people who have Irish Heritage regardless of religion. =)
@SageMother (2277)
• United States
16 Mar 07
As a pagan/Wiccan woman I do not celebrate St. Patrick's day for obviousl reasons. When I am working in classrooms on that day I am sure to forbid the "pinching for not wearing green" activities among the students I am with. When I am asked about that ban I simply explain that it is a form of religious persecution that I will not stand by and simply accept. That usually takes care of things quite well.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
17 Mar 07
*nods* I think it's funny that you say "obvious reasons" because when I try to explain my reasons for not celebrating St. Patrick's Day, people don't think they're obvious at all. Most of the time I just get a blank stare. Thanks for sharing how you deal with this in classrooms! Very interesting.
• United States
16 Mar 07
fuuny (at lest to me)i went into a local store the other day ahnd they had a big sign saying Happy St Patties day ,I just had to ask just who is ST Patty?never heard of her !I came here from england and had an Irish grandma i thought every one knew it is ST paddy !In a county where they celebrate more than we ever did at least they need to know who they are celebrating!
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
17 Mar 07
That's a pretty funny story! Thanks for sharing!
• United States
16 Mar 07
i'm half irish/non-christian also.i've gotten to hate this time of year.. i get tired of the irish drinking jokes,and the people acting like idiots. as far as the pinchers go,i tell them i actually AM irish,i don't have to wear green this day or any other LOL i do make corned beef,but that's because i like it anyway.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! Glad to see that I'm not the only one who gets annoyed by this. Good response to the pinching thing!
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
16 Mar 07
We use it as an excuse to get drunk. Actually, my brother's birthday is on the 16th so we celebrate st pats day and Darren's birthday at the same time. I am a christian, but I am a protestant and I always wear orange instead of green. I do understand your reluctance and people should respect your views. No one complains when a jewish person doesn't acknowledge Christmas.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! =) I hope your brother has a wonderful birthday, and you both have tons of fun this weekend! Thanks for the understanding.
• United States
16 Mar 07
Holidays in general have become to coercive. And there's too much assumption that everyone celebrates the same ones. A little more awareness and sensitivity around that would be a great thing. I like your approach with warning people that you will consider pinching a physical attack (which it is) and will respond accordingly. It's too bad you even have to tell people that.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I agree that holidays have become too coercive, and there is too much assumption that everyone celebrates the same ones. I try very hard never to assume such things about people. I think we all have a right to our own beliefs and traditions, and we should all try to be more understanding about the whole issue. As for pinching, I agree with you. It's pretty insane that I should have to say this.
@misskatonic (3727)
• United States
15 Mar 07
..... When's St. Patrick's Day again? That right there shows how much I pay attention. And I *am* Christian. I just don't celebrate the holidays because to me, it's a pointless spectacle. I remember in Boston, St Patrick's was such a huge thing. You couldn't go out your door without running into some kind of big to-do for it. Mostly drunken. I never saw the point. The only St Patrick's day memory that stands out to me is overhearing one remarkably stupid girl talking about how she was going to wear orange for it, since orange was an Irish color, too. *faceplams*
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
15 Mar 07
Thanks for responding! Glad to see you around! =) It is quite a spectacle, especially with all the drinking involved. Wow, that story is absolutely hilarious. Also scary, when it causes me to realize that so much stupidity exists. Thanks for sharing!
• Austria
17 Mar 07
I've always avoided St. Patrick's day. I don't like holidays just for the sake of drinking. Most holidays like that happen and I couldn't care less. I find the 4th of July annoying because I always had to go to some BBQ and then there was nothing decent to eat for a vegetarian. And then some drunk pukes on your shoes. Nothing patriotic about that. Since I'm not Irish and didn't grow up with it, when I finally was in the US I just ignored it. Never wore green, but I don't think anyone dared to pinch me either. Maybe you should carry a bat around that day, people would think twice about pinching you
1 person likes this
• Canada
17 Mar 07
I haven't really ever celebrated St.Paddy's day. For me it's just another day and a "Halmark Holiday" as another poster had put it.
1 person likes this