Students should consider true meanings behind St. Patrick’s Day


by Zach James

Ever wonder why the color green is used for St. Patrick’s Day?

Think about it. Most colors are symbolized for other holidays such as pink for Valentine’s Day, but there likely is no other symbolic color to a holiday than green to St. Patrick’s Day.

Why think green when thinking of Irish culture?

Before the 17th century, the color used to represent St. Patrick’s Day was originally blue. It was changed to green soon after the flag of Ireland used green to cover a third.

The green is used to represent the Catholic community of Ireland, the orange is supposed to represent the Protestants of the nation and the white is meant to show peace between the two religious beliefs.

These two sects do not seem to like each other. Think of it similar to a civil war.

If you ever seem to find yourself in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, not everyone will wear green. Some Protestants will wear orange to show off their faith.

Back here, the custom is to wear green without any religious belief. It’s just used for fun.

Most people that were seen on Saturday most likely found a way to wear the color in order to avoid getting pinched, which is another tradition that was developed overseas.

It’s a silly ritual at that, but also easily can entertain one’s amusement for the whole day.

Among wearing green and pretending everyone is Irish for the day by adding an ‘O’ to their last name, another regular practice commonly associated with the holiday, is the amount of beer (green or not) one can drink during the day and night.

Now, when it comes to drinking for college-aged students, go ahead and give us any type of excuse to pop a top and there is no hesitation. It doesn’t take just St. Patrick’s Day for young adults to rush to the keg, but it’s an added bonus.

Any holiday is a good holiday to sip on some alcohol for most college students.

Along with associating green with St. Patrick’s Day, so is drinking. Although I’m sure Irish natives aren’t necessarily offended by this stereotype, is it an accurate one to make?

Around four million pints of beer are consumed on St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. alone while eight more million are consumed around the world, not just in Ireland. It’s not just Irish people who are drinking on the holiday; it’s people of many different races who are pleased to drink green beer and wish they were actually Irish.

There is some evidence to back up the notion that Ireland is the alcohol capital of the world. For example, an Economist study in 2003 indicates that the Irish have the world’s highest per capita spending on alcohol, ahead of the U.K. and the Scandinavian countries.

No shock value there.

Aside from that, everyone puts in their fair share of alcohol consumption. Especially college students.

So, in theory (which might be a little bit of a stretch), why isn’t there a national holiday for kids like us who like to drink and create our own customs?

Wait, that’s right, they call it Spring Break.

Zach James is a junior at Simpson College majoring in multimedia journalism. He is a staff writer for The Simpsonian and the Sports Director for KSTM radio.