Every year on March 17 I focus on St. Patrick's Day, for how can I ignore a day dedicated to me where overindulgence in Irish whiskey is epidemic. To quote from my 2009 posting:
So how did this European inspire annual drunken bouts in every one of our 50 states (even Utah has a parade and two Irish pubs)? Well, St. Patrick is not unlike St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, in that the marketplace has taken over. In the USA it is more a celebration of enjoying being Irish for a few hours, and the person is just a convenient excuse.
Unlike Cinco de Mayo, which is Mexican, but only celebrated in the USA, St Paddy's Day is a big deal in Ireland. It was was snowy and windy in Dublin, but 250,000 mostly drunken revelers watched their traditional 2 mile parade (photo above), with performers from 46 countries. As you might know, the country is struggling, with 14% unemployment, so the government made this gathering the beginning of a major campaign to maximize tourism. A promotion called The Gathering was organized for clan reunions.
There is (was) a national TV show tonight featuring President Michael Higgins, Bono and Seamus Heaney (Nobel poet). Note that the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, leaning tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls and Christ the Redeemer (Rio--actually, below was the green commemorating the UN conference on Sustainable Development last year) and Sydney's Opera House went green this year:
But why green? Goes back to historic times when Catholicism was identified by the color green, while the Protestants were orange. The Catholics prevailed with St. Patrick becoming an icon, although you still see orange here and there in Dublin that day.
Of course, the Chicago River also is dyed green (yesterday):
Six different kinds of mustard with Ireland's favorite beer, Sapporo (that's all I had), and those Irish whiskeys. Unfortunately, my draft for the Greenies occurred just after this meal.