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Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

If you don’t know what this means, then it doesn’t really matter what “they” say; apparently NOT everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Arriving at the salon for my Rosh Chodesh mani/pedi, it didn’t take more than a few moments to realize that everyone must have gotten the green memo. (Though supporters of the Orange Institution would be have received the orange memo.) And then, much to my horror, I realized that I too was wearing green.

Saint Patrick’s Day doesn’t really register in Frume Sarah’s World. I had selected a green blouse with nary a thought to the Feast Day for the patron SAINT of Ireland.

“Oh no!” gasped I.

Not having time to shelp home (11.4 miles. Each way.), I decided to do a Target drive-by.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.

Lighten UP, Frume Sarah. It’s not like it’s a religious holiday or anything.

Except. It kinda is. Or was, at any rate.

Patrick was born in Scotland around the year 385. As a teen, he was captured and sent to Ireland to herd sheep. (Now, that sounds familiar.) Anyway, during his six years of captivity, Patrick grew deep in his Christian faith, though he was surrounded by Druids and pagans. Upon his return to Britain, he commenced his studies for the priesthood. Inspired by a dream that had the people of Ireland calling him to return, Patrick served the Church by christianizing the polytheistic Irish. Legend teaches that Patrick used the three-leaved Shamrock as a tool in order to explain the Trinity.

In the early 1600’s, March 17, the yahrtzeit of Saint Patrick, was added to the liturgical calendar of the Church as a holy day of obligation. These days are not unlike our yom tovim.

On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.
Moreover they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

Just as Lag B’Omer serves as a temporary cessation of the restrictions during the counting of the Omer, Saint Patrick’s Day is a brief respite during the Lenten season. Prohibitions were lifted, giving rise to the consumption of enjoying cabbage with either corned beef or bacon and alcoholic beverages during this period of abstinence.

Saint Patrick’s Day remains a sacred day on the festival calendar of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. Regardless of what society has done over the years to secularize and commercialize this day. I recognize that I am in the minority. However, as a person of faith, I cannot condone stripping the religiosity away from a holiday that belongs to another faith community.

So, no. I am not Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day any more than a citizen of Nigeria is American on Thanksgiving or a Buddist is Jewish on Sukkot.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:12 pm

    {{{Sigh}}} I can’t tell you how many kids came to Hebrew School wearing green on Wednesday. And I couldn’t figure out why. Luckily, I don’t really OWN any green so there was no accidental wearing 🙂

    That didn’t stop me from making Guinness-infused brownies for a dear Irish friend. And man, were they good.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 18 March 2010 11:11 pm

      Yeah…we had our fair share as well. Made me sad.

      Definitely would have been bad form for the rabbi to be wearing green.

      Making the Black-and-Tan brownies for a friend are no different from helping a friend or family member with celebrate Christmas. It is their holiday. We love them. And we want their celebration to be wonderful.

  2. Thursday, 18 March 2010 1:43 pm

    Its the Bagpipes that get to me. They make me weep. Nice post. I have lots and lots of Irish friends, and they dont go to church or anything on Pats day.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 18 March 2010 11:16 pm

      Me too. Especially “Scotland the Brave” and “Danny Boy.”

      Hey I have lots of Jewish friends who don’t go to shul on our major festivals. But that doesn’t mean that the whole world should start celebrating the really fun parts of Sukkot.

      • The Mad Jewess permalink
        Saturday, 17 March 2012 8:05 pm

        Its St Pats again, and I STILL LOVE the bagpipes.
        I admire your stance and strength in our faith.
        I wish I was more disciplined.
        However, I read, read, read the Torah and Tanakh.

        Shabbat Shalom

  3. Jen permalink
    Friday, 19 March 2010 1:23 am

    I am totally with you on this!! First of all, on a personal level, my grandmother died on St. Patrick`s day. Additionally, why celebrate something if it doesn`t mean anything to me or my religion?! It`s a completely pointless holiday to me.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 22 March 2010 12:48 pm

      Yeah. I think that it’s a great holiday…if you are (a) Irish or (b) Catholic. I am neither.

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