Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Holiday of Misattribution
Not a problem. My first real exposure to St. Patrick's day was the “Kiss me” stuff, and wearing green or you'd get pinched (a Tart can hardly take issue with an excuse for goosing). And when I was younger, a holiday that was all about drinking was a-okay. El Cinco de Mayo, for instance—pass me the tequilla!
While that's not something I am so into anymore, I can hardly fault people with wanting a break from Lent, which according to [History Undressed] this fabuloulously titled blog, it was—a day during a 40 day fast when people got to have a party and drink a little... okay by me.
So what's my problem?
But the story goes, that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. You know what he actually drove out? Pagans. He was sainted for all his religious conversion. He's an interesting guy, and being stolen into slavery, escaping, and then going back to where he was enslaved is a pretty cool tale, but I just can't get on board with anything that smells of Inquisition. [Even if NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!]
Now I solidly believe this guy believed he was doing the right thing (saving souls, in his mind). And he was SMART (incorporating things like the shamrock into symbolism for the holy trinity--it had previously been sacred to the DRUIDS). But in THIS day and age, I feel like we are obliged to recognize that as manipulation. It's like Christmas falling on December 25 because it was already a Pagan holiday—taking and absorbing the symbols of another culture/religion to 'prove' something ends up killing the original meaning and a piece of cultural history gets lost. NOT OKAY. Excellent marketing. BAD behavior. I would rather remember that.
I'm not saying don't celebrate. I think you should. I'm just saying be mindful of what really went on, and take a minute to acknowledge lives and homes lost by people unwilling to lightly change their beliefs, and to note even those who changed did so under false pretenses--they were misinformed. Though it is an interesting colorful piece of the past, it is not something we should ever aspire toward in the future.
Instead we should just get naked and practice tolerance of all people in their current cultures--don't try to change them. Love them for who they are. Because the world is much richer that way.
And while you are at it, why don't you misattribute a couple times today--that seems to be what the day is really about.