St. Patrick’s Day Redefined

Dad on St. Patrick's Day

That’s my Dad. And this picture was taken at this year’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day event at M’Couls in downtown Greensboro. Two talented photographers, Michael D. Dunn and Stephen Charles, spent the day shooting the sights, sounds, people, and musical acts who carried the night away.

One note: I was saddened to read about this experience on Stephen’s flickr page. Especially when you look through these pictures and see folks of all races — black, white, Irish, Italian — arm in arm, ear to ear, smiling for the camera.

Still. Idiots always find a way to rule the day. And as an Irish American, I’d like to say to that idiot who made the comment: Don’t take my day to use as an excuse to get drunk and say whatever the hell you want. Get your own.

And it is my day. I’ll make no apologies for claiming it. In recent years, I’ve been looking for ways to redefine what St. Patty’s Day means to me — apart from the Irish Car bombs, and inexcusable, ill, drunken behavior.

It’s about celebrating family tradition. The times my father stood me on the bar to sing Irish songs. The parades. The leprechauns. The sinners. The saints. The celebration. And more recently, to me, St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating freedom.

Long before St. Patrick, High Kings ruled Ireland like a band of gangsters. They consulted superstition and a liquid, labyrinth-like set of rules and laws that often changed to suit greedy interests, and to protect their power. The Irish people lived in fear and slavery to Kings. Superstitious themselves, many Irish also believed the High Kings would rule their souls in the afterlife, too.

By the time St. Patrick came around, he taught the Irish that they belonged to something bigger than the Kings. He explained that they belonged to no man. They were free. And a long struggle towards freedom began.

So. I want to honor that struggle and fight for something better. Every day. And especially St. Patrick’s Day.

Thanks for putting it out there, Stephen.

  One thought on “St. Patrick’s Day Redefined

  1. March 20, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    well said, molly.

  2. March 20, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    As always, thoughtful and well stated.

  3. busterdilly
    March 20, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you, to two of my favorite Irish-Americans.

  4. March 20, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Molly,

    check out this post my good friend Jarod Kearney did about the history of Saint Patrick’s Day.

  5. March 20, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Molly, I was glad I could be a part of your day, your Dad seemed like a great guy!

  6. March 20, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Want to know something really cool?

    A friend of mine introduced me to ancestry.com, and I’ve been able to access old U.S. census records all the way back into the early 1800’s. Found out the Irish comes from *both* sides of the family! :-)

  7. Simonne
    March 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    Beautifully said, beautiful Molly.

  8. March 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Your dad rocked. I too am glad Stephen stayed. Too bad he didn’t stay for the Dicken’s. You missed out buddy ;-)

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