Christian Feast of St. Patrick's Bastardized into Rowdy Secular Beer BashOpinion
SAN ANGELO, TX — Modern day atheists and agnostics frequently accuse the early Christian Church of converting pagan celebrations into Church holy days. For instance, Christmas was the winter solstice and became the Christian celebration of the day of Christ’s birth.
Today, the modern secular world is turning Catholic feast days into rowdy commercialized parties. Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter, Christmas, and yes, St. Patrick’s Day which is Saturday, March 17.
According to the website humanreligions.info, “Most Christmas customs are, in fact, based on old pagan festivals, the Roman Saturnalia and the Scandinavian and Teutonic Yule. Christians adopted these during the earliest period of Church history. The Church, however, has given this recognition and incorporates it into the Church year without too many misgivings.”
In other words, Christians adopted customs of the times out of necessity. In modern times that practice is being reversed. The secular modern world has commercialized Christian feast days and St. Patrick’s day is no exception.
According to Catholic.org, St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. At the time, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans but Patrick turned to God and wrote his memoir, The Confession. In The Confession, he wrote:
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was raised, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Eventually Patrick escaped and made his way back to Britain where he ordained a priest. He then returned to Ireland and evangelized the pagans there. He died on March 17, 461.
The day was a pagan holiday before it was Saint Patrick’s day according to pagancentric.org; “The festival was designed to coincide, and, it was hoped, to replace the Pagan holiday known as Ostara; the second spring festival which occurs each year, which celebrates the rebirth of nature, the balance of the universe when the day and night are equal in length, and which takes place at the Spring Equinox (March 22nd this year). In other words, Saint Patrick’s Day is yet another Christian replacement for a much older, ancient Pagan holiday.”
Since 1962 the city of Chicago has celebrated Saint Patrick’s day by dumping some 40 tons of green dye into the Chicago River. And New York has celebrated with an elaborate parade. St. Patrick’s day celebrations have spread worldwide and evolved from the celebration of the life of an important religious figure to a reason to party. The Irish based feast day has been turned into one big beer drinking, green wearing party.
In San Angelo, Shamrock the Block will be celebrated downtown from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday with “Beer, Drinks, Food, Music, Games, and Contests.” So whatever your reason to celebrate or not on Saturday, wear green, drink beer within reason, share a shamrock and have a good time.
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