Five alternative things to celebrate on St Patrick’s Day
Paddy’s Day not your thing – here are five other reasons to celebrate on March 17.
By Conor Hogan
From Monserrat to Newfoundland, it seems like everybody loves St Patrick’s Day. Forget the fact that Paddy was Welsh, and that shamrocks weren’t part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations until the early 18th century – it’s an excuse to get as drunk as you want, watch parades, and sing about how you wish you were in back in the old country (even though that’s where you are) and embrace your Irish-ness (whatever that exactly entails).
Believe it or not, however, there are people out there who balk at the occasion. People who feel that the actions of some on that day feed into negative stereotypes of Irish people. And to be honest, they have a point. It is hard to argue with a foreigner who believes that Ireland has an alcohol epidemic when you yourself are throwing up all over the street.
If you decide not to partake, however, don’t blame us if you begin to feel left out in all the merriment. You can still keep your principles while celebrating the many other events of the day that haven’t anything to do with our snake-murdering patron.
Italian Unification Day
150 years ago to the day, a peninsula was united when the Count of Cavour declared the Kingdom of Italy officially open, something which was brought about thanks to the tireless and incredible work of people like Garibaldi (Giusseppe, not the biscuit favourably compared with the Eccles Cake).
Coincidently, 17 March is also 206 years to the day since Napoleon I declared himself President of Italy, 1,831 years to the day that the great Marcus Aurelius died and 2,056 years to the day that Julius Caesar defeated Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda.
In fact, it is a strong contender for most Italian day on the calendar (and we have a bit of cheek to hijack it as our National holiday).
In honour of the fine country of Italy, why not bake yourself a pizza, chug back a few glasses of vino, and practice your exaggerated hand gestures while listening to a Joe Dolce record? What do you mean Joe Dolce isn’t Italian? Next you’ll be telling me Chico Marx was American. He was? Super Mario, though, surely?!
Celebrate Patrick Duffy’s 62nd birthday
When there’s a choice to be made between St Paddy and Patrick Duffy, only one can logically win out. For let’s face it, the saint may have banished snakes and turned swans into incredibly old people, but he never played a principle character in a long running American soap opera.
If Jesus’ comeback was improbable, one man would improve upon it less than two thousand years later. After getting run over and definitely (and without question and in no way getting out of it) brushing off his mortal coil in 1985, Bobby Ewing (Duffy) returned the following year thanks to the power of Victoria Principal’s dreams and an Irish Spring soap commercial.
An entire season became a mirage, and Dallas fans were furious. Looking back now, however, it was a fantastic piece of television that will never be topped for utter ridiculousness.
Dallas is returning to our screens in 2011, with Duffy, Larry Hagman, Priscilla Pressley and others returning, so what better time to launch into a marathon DVD session of all 357 episodes of the much loved and unfairly vilified series.
The joy that is European football
Okay, admittedly Paddy’s day falls on a Thursday this year, so the only games you’ll have to choose from are in the Europa League, otherwise known as the What’s The F*cking Point League. If you are a Liverpool or a Rangers fan, however, there are a couple of decent home ties you can watch (Braga and PSV respectively).
National Muay Thai Day
There may be a tradition of fighting on 17 March in this country, but in Thailand they’ve actually gone as far as to deem it National Muay Thai Day. It is dedicated to a man called Nai Khanom Thom (the Cú Chulainn of Thailand), who according to reports defeated 10 Burmese fighters to win his freedom from captivity in 1774.
While JOE columnist Jono Bracken greatly enjoyed his time in Thailand, it might be a bit of an ask for most of you to get out there for the festivities. Fear not, however, as there are plenty of Thai boxing classes you can attend in this country. Below is a classic Muay Thai match (or possibly a hilarious commercial, we aren’t quite sure).
Until last year, Evacuation Day was a Public Holiday in Suffolk County in Boston, Massachusetts. It commemorated the day in 1776 when, after an 11-month siege, George Washington, known as G-dog to homies at the time, fortified Dorchester Heights and British General William Howe ran away to Nova Scotia like a little girl. It was G-dog’s first victory of the US War of Independence, a war his team would eventually win on a score of 73-66 overall.