Green Beer and Paganism on St. Patrick's Day

Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. Sometime back in the fifth century he stood on a hill, the story goes, and used a staff to herd the slithering creatures into the sea, banishing them for eternity. In reality most scholars agree that snakes symbolize paganism, which St. Patrick is also credited for banishing from Ireland. Snakes as symbols of evil are prevalent throughout Judeo-Christian mythology, most notoriously in the Garden of Eden as a tempter of Eve.

St. Patrick's Day, like most Hallmark Holidays, has its roots deeply embedded in paganism. The historic St. Patrick was born in Wales around AD 385. Before becoming St. Patrick he answered to the name Maewyn and, until turning 16, he identified himself as a pagan (no real shocker there, as most people back in those days were pagan). He later, after being enslaved and hauled off to Ireland, had visions, heard voices and moved to a monastery in France where he converted. Subsequently he returned to Ireland and began converting the local pagan folks to the latest craze in self-delusion, Christianity.

Some modern Pagans and Wiccans quietly protest St. Patrick by wearing a serpent pin or shirt on St. Patrick's Day instead of those green "Kiss Me I'm Irish" badges. Though if you're not sure about the depth of your pagan devotion or about wearing a snake on your lapel, you can always jazz up your front door with a Spring Snake Wreath instead.

But all that is old hat and nobody, other than the odd grudge holding pagan, really cares anymore about the historic St. Paddy. Nowadays it's all about parades, the 'Luck of the Irish' and green beer-especially beer, green or not, here in Canuckistan. Oh, for sure you'll see a few folks drinking Guinness or toasting with Irish Whiskey but the real truth is Canucks, like most folks everywhere, like a buzz and whatever excuse there is for a party sounds fine.