Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's The Occasion? St. Patrick's Day

As with many holidays of relatively long-standing, there is considerable lore surrounding St. Patrick's Day; for instance, did you know that the colour associated with St. Patrick is blue? The whole green thing is purely Irish, and what better, as it's said that there are more shades of green in any view of the Irish countryside than the human eye can register. It probably took someone at the Irish Tourist Board ages to come up with that, but it's still a pretty sentiment nonetheless...

PhotobucketMy personal favourite annual tradition is the dyeing of the Chicago River green, which makes a pleasant change from grey speckled with chunks of brown; later in the evening even the alleys and gutters of the city run green, so persistent is the presence of food colouring used in beer that it lends its joyous hue to urine and vomit alike.

Of course, St. Patrick himself wasn't Irish at all, but Roman-born, and brought to Ireland as a slave. This is in marked contrast to many Irish, who left Ireland because they felt like slaves of the British, only to face 'No Irish Need Apply' signs in Canada, the United States, and Australia. The Irish diaspora has become so successful - even in the face of that grievous bigotry - that even Glasgow holds a St. Patrick's Day parade; no word yet on what sort of St. Andrew's Day parade Dublin will be having come November, but it's likely to be a darn sight better than the one they hold on St. George's Day.

These parades are commonplace around the world, but the most famous one is in New York City, where annually millions gather to practice their homophobia under the watchful eye of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Here at the Pop Culture Institute, of course, we celebrate things a little differently, as you might have guessed if you've been following our coverage; here March 17th is St. Passive-Aggressive's Day, he being our patron saint. We light a candle to Brigid and I exchange the red paint-ball pellets I normally use to take potshots at the drunken frat-boys in the alley behind my apartment for green ones. A good time is had by all (or, in this case, me).

The image used in this post was taken (by me) from a mural on the side of St. Patrick's Secondary School in Vancouver.

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Seumas Gagne said...

Patrick was a creep, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians are horrific and there's lots of nasty sources of gay-hating in Ireland itself.

I also draw unspeakable joy and fulfillment from Irish and Scottish Gaelic music.

Kind of a dichotomy, I realize.

Any other gay Celtic music fans out there? My friend Geoff and my own all-male-fully-gay-man-fiancée Doug are the only ones I know.

Oh, and there's Ol' Reliable. But I don't know if he really counts any more.

michael sean morris said...

'Twas ever thus; I'm a fan of hip-hop. 'Nuff said.

And despite what you and Mr. Barr think, I also like Celtic music because my favourite kind of music is sincere - whatever instruments are used, whatever language it's in, even if it's cheesy, I like it.

You should try starting a "Gay Fans of Celtic Music" group on Facebook, and you might even find a few new members for that amazing organization Slighe Nan Ghaidheal.