My Thoughts about St. Patrick’s Day
By L. Rigdon
On a cold day in January, a production company invited a fairy and a leprechaun to a photo shoot. The production company was working on some new marketing ideas for St. Patrick’s Day, and spared no expense to take elaborate photos of the fairy and the leprechaun in various poses to promote the holiday.
After the photo shoot, the fairy and the leprechaun went out for a drink.
The two had known each other for ages, twelve and a half centuries to be precise, and they enjoyed chit-chatting about different things. After several hours of drinking and talking had passed, the leprechaun looked around to make sure no one else was paying attention before he started talking to the fairy in a language only understood by the Fae Folk.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something all these years that we’ve been doing these silly photo shoots, and I can’t put it off any longer.”
Smiling mischievously, the fairy leaned in closely. “Well by all means, ask away. You know we have no secrets.”
“Okay, well as far as I know, there isn’t a single Catholic or Christian amongst the Fae, right?”
“None as far as I’m aware,” answered the fairy.
“Then why do they want to take pictures of us for a Catholic holiday? I mean, the Pagans and Celts believed in fairies and leprechauns and the like, but St. Patrick forced all the non-Catholics to convert. That’s why the Catholics have this holiday, isn’t it?”
“Oh, Cousin, that was just the first stage.”
“The first stage?” The leprechaun seemed surprised. “How many stages are there?”
“Well we’re in the third stage right now.” She took a quick sip of her drink before she continued. “The first stage was about all the Pagans and Protestants being forced to convert to Catholicism, causing devastating problems for our people, as I’m sure you remember.”
“Aye,” he replied.
“That stage only lasted for so long, the whole rush for one country to be one religion, I mean. The second stage started when other countries began taking over Ireland, and Irish immigrants were forced to flee. At that point, celebrating the holiday was a way to relate to your fellow Irishmen, making the second stage one of nationalism.”
“You don’t say?” The leprechaun leaned back in his chair with his mug in hand. “Well keep going and tell me about the third stage, as you call it.”
“Irish nationalism was all well and good, I mean most fairies and leprechauns are Irish, so we’re just as proud. But nationalism in a country like America can get a little tricky when you have so many people from so many different places. That’s when the third stage happened, the stage of commercialism. Irish people wanted St. Patrick’s Day, so they could celebrate their heritage and their religious rites, but they also wanted to promote their home country of Ireland for tourism.”
“So this third stage is about tourism? Then how do we fit into the picture?”
“If you want something to sell, especially here in the States, you’ve got to make it pop! Being religious won’t sell a holiday. Being Irish or wanting to be Irish is good, but it’s still missing something. That’s where we fit in. When people think of the Irish they think of all the folklore. People dressing up like fairies and leprechauns, wearing green clothing, and pinning on fake shamrocks all make for a fantastic marketing campaign.”
“So the holiday that was originally based on getting rid of the people who actually worshiped the Fae Folk is now the same holiday that uses the Fae Folk as marketing mascots?” He felt confused at this point and took another sip of his drink.
“Cousin, it’s the 21st-century. People don’t know the truth about their holidays anymore! Most holidays are about getting the day off of work and getting drunk,” she explained.
“So why don’t they just call it ‘National Get off of Work and Get Drunk Day’?” He asked.
“Because they would only get one day off a year if they did it that way! By calling each holiday by a different name, like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc., they can have several days during the year when they can get off of work and get drunk,” she replied.
“Well I guess I can’t argue with that logic.” The leprechaun finished his drink and ordered another round. He chuckled to himself as he said, “An excuse to get drunk and get off of work! What will these mortals think of next?”
© L. Rigdon 2008