St. Patrick's Day History and Festivities

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and I’m sure many of us are going to celebrate it in one way or another. We all know who St. Patrick was, right? The patron saint of green beer and . . . wait, that’s not quite right, is it? While the day is celebrated with parades and parties and social gatherings throughout the world, few who tip a mug of green beer in his honor know much more about the man other than he was Irish and . . .  wait, that’s not quite right, either. What? The patron saint of Ireland wasn’t Irish? Well, not exactly.

St. Patrick was actually born in Wales and was kidnapped at the age of sixteen and brought to Ireland as a slave. He escaped six years later, but returned as an ordained bishop and spent the rest of his life in missionary work there. March 17th, the date of St. Patrick’s death and his feast day within the Catholic Church, is traditionally a religious holiday in Ireland. In fact, until the 1970’s, pubs in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s Day (this is where you look really surprised), and it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that the Irish government began promoting the secular celebrations we’ve come to expect in America.

So Ireland doesn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the same fervor we do. So St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. So Peyton Manning, a fine Irish lad, isn’t coming to the Redskins. Is that going to prevent you from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Of course not.But where to go and what to do? Here are a few suggestions:

The Crossing at Casey Jones [] in La Plata hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day party that is always a crowd pleaser and is often standing room only. Festivities will begin with a brunch at 11:30 AM and continue throughout the day. Live music will start at 3:30 PM, with a second band taking the stage at 9:30 PM. If you’d rather stay in Waldorf, Babe’s Boys Tavern on Route 925 also holds an annual party that draws a considerable crowd. Boston's The Gourmet Pizza (ironically, not far from St. Patrick's Drive) has a full day of festivities, including the popular band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

For those of you on the other side of the county, the 10th District Volunteer Fire Department will be holding its annual St. Patrick’s Day dance, which starts at 8:00 PM and goes until 1:30 AM. The dance is BYOB for those over 21 and the cost is $10 at the door. Now, should you still be in the festive spirit come next week, the National Shamrock Festival [] will be held at RFK stadium Saturday, March 24th. Featuring over 50 bands, dozens of entertainment options, and more food and beverage choices than might seem reasonable, it is the perfect way to draw the week of celebration to a close.

Get out and enjoy yourself, but keep in my mind that I’m going to be on the roads this weekend, as are people I love and care about. Drink responsibly and if you have to, call a taxi or a friend to get you home safely.


Mike Billard is a board member of the Adams Landing Townhome Association, the Wakefield Neighborhood Association, and the Smallwood Village Association.