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COLUMN: A bit of gold for what you know

Another one has passed us by and, to be honest, I never did get the whole St. Patrick's Day thing.

I mean, don't get me wrong, back in the day I put away my fair share of green beer, and hooped and hollered with the best of them, but that was monkey-see monkey-do more than anything else.

I understand celebrating those of Irish descent but lets not forget that St. Patrick's Day was originally a religious holiday.

I can tell you, those nights I was dancing an Irish jig on the table top while singing the Irish Rovers song, The Orange and the Green (It is the biggest mix up that you have ever seen. My father he was orange and my mother she was green.), at the top of my lungs did very little to advance me spiritually.

Although I do remember promising the good Lord I'd never drink again, while staring down at my freshly-stained shoes, on more than one occasion.

Before the real St. Patrick became a saint, he was a missionary credited with converting many of the Irish people to Christianity in the fifth century.

I always thought we could have a day of reserved recognition to honour Patty's work with the Christians, and then haul out the green ale for a separate feast day to honour Irish culture in general. Now, there's a reason to host a batten-down-the-hatches party that takes no prisoners.

I still giggle at the fact that St. Patrick's Day is an official holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador. I mean you have to hand it to them when it comes to recognizing a good day for a proper party, eh?

And how would you like to own shares in Aspirin or Tylenol on the day after that party?

On the downside, there can be little doubt most people go out and dress up in some semblance of Irish garb, down their share of green ale, and sing Irish folk songs at the top of their lungs until the wee hours without having any understanding of who St. Patrick really was and the incredible life he led.

I feel kind of sad in that regard; when you consider more people can tell you details of Santa's made-up life, than they can of a revered missionary who became one of three patron saints of Ireland for his contributions to the Irish people.

Well, that might be a wee too much to expect, eh? People as a rule don't do all that much historical reading these days, and a lack of knowledge about the real St. Patrick certainly isn't reason enough to get in the way of a good party.

Hopefully, most people paid at least a tip of their hat to Patty on St. Patrick's Day, and, in our Nunavut communities where alcohol is allowed, there were likely more than a few big heads this past Sunday morning from indulging in a bit too much Irish culture.

But, for those who annually don the green and party to the max every St. Patrick's Day, it might be a grand idea to take a few minutes and read a couple of chapters on the man who you've been hoisting all that ale to over the years.

At least then you'd know beyond a shadow of a doubt, the man you've been tipping all those glasses to is worthy of the honour.

And, so as not to let the merrymaking totally outshine the importance of the day to Christianity: may you be at the gates of heaven an hour before the devil knows you're dead!

Belated happy St. Patrick's Day to all.