Philadelphia Metropolis


Erin Go Blah

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By L.A. Finnegan

SAt Patrick's Day Revelers.jpgGone are the days when we used to look at our calendars in anticipation of the year St. Patty's Day would fall on a Friday or Saturday, as it did this year. It was the Holy Grail of holidays. No one would be forced to come up with a flimsy excuse to miss work or school on the day of, or even more likely, the day after a gluttonous binge. It was a glorious piece of fortune, provided for us by the watchful eye of Saint Patrick or the mischievous minds of the leprechauns.  So, why is it that the thrill is gone? Because now St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by his green legion for two to three weeks before the sun even rises on his feast day. 

Am I guilty of this? Of course. I have tramped alongside the fervent and passionate hordes from bar to bar as early as March 1st, donning my finest Kelly green. But have I also begun to notice its ludicrousness? Never more so than this year.

With the big day approaching on a Saturday this year, I realized that I will actually be going out in observance of the Irish holiday not once, not twice, but three times. How is that possible? Well, with bars attempting to capitalize off of this annual day of insatiable imbibing, there are events planned for each weekend in March, both before and after the feast day of March 17th . And after a long, (though mild), winter, it naturally seems appealing to engage in an activity loosely associated in many minds with spring. But the question remains: Isn't this getting to be a bit ridiculous?

The Erin Express. Running of the Leprechauns. Running of the Micks. All three of these events are being held within the city of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Each features the opportunity to tour the many Irish bars, dressed as absurdly as possible, for the price of a wristband. And these events to not take place just once. The Erin Express, a pub crawl that includes a school bus to transfer inebriated patrons from one bar to the next, has occurred on at least two weekends in March for the past few years. I don't want to pretend I'm someone I'm not, and to suggest that I am above any or all of these events, but even I am beginning to wonder if this is a bit of overkill.

Can't we just celebrate the day once, on the actual feast day of St. Patrick, or on the weekend closest to March 17? I've grown tired of finding two or three different green ensembles, adorning my face with shamrock stickers, pretending to enjoy Guinness, and merrily jigging to the same few songs over and over. I'm thoroughly glad that there is a time of year when I have the opportunity to commemorate my ancestry, as many are not blessed with such a widespread and accepted feast day. But just as with everything else, if it no longer feels special, unique or even significant, even the pot of gold under the rainbow loses a bit of its luster.

 Yes, I could skip the fun or try something new, but I feel a sense of disloyalty in missing out on a day so closely connected to my identity. And, honestly, it can be a great time. And what kind of self-respecting Irish girl would willingly miss out on the chance to flaunt her lucky charms or shout "Erin go Bragh."

For all the non-Irish or Irish-resistant in the world, I imagine the month of March has become a time to avoid many of their favorite bars and restaurants, fearing that a throng of loud, beer-guzzling, emerald-wearing hooligans will invade without notice. And I understand that sentiment. Though I will still likely be part of that horde, the silliness and excessiveness that has overtaken what used to be a lively one-day festivity, has not been lost on even me -- the girl who is often the most Irish in the room.



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