I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how holidays in the US have shifted so radically to be meaningless. What were once celebrations of people and events of meaning and consequence have turned into excuses to eat and drink to excess.
Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick’s Day has historically been a celebration of the life and work of Patrick, a 5th century Christian missionary and Bishop in Ireland. But if you asked most people today who St. Patrick is, they’ll probably tell you he was an Irish Brew Master or something. For most, this holiday is merely an excuse to drink green beer and eat corned beef. Grocery clerks wear stupid, tiny, glittery top hats and threaten to pinch anyone not wearing green. I’m considering making a line of t-shirts. The first one will be some color other than green. It will say “A punch for a pinch” or something to that effect.
Look at any of our major holidays and you’ll see the same pattern. On Easter we now celebrate rabbits that poop chocolate eggs. How do we celebrate this? By making our kids search for plastic copies of the chocolate scat while the adults eat ham and scalloped potatoes and drink too much wine. Thankfully, most people don’t color their wine green.
Thanksgiving’s become nothing more than a frenzied marathon for cooking a glut of carbohydrates and hormone injected turkeys. Then we eat way more than we know we should but still wash it all down with any beer containing the word fall, wheat or ale in the name.
Christmas now consists of cookies smeared with food coloring, lots of candy and presents that nobody needs or wants after January first. Oh, an you should start drinking hard liquor because, you know, it’s cold outside.
I know I sound bitter. I’m really not. I love the holidays. I just wish we would (as a society) pay a little more attention to the real meaning behind them. That, and stop pinching people.