Yesterday, March 15th, is a famously unlucky date.
According to Shakespeare, Julius Caesar was told: “Beware the Ides of March!”
He didn’t take the warning seriously and he was murdered on that very day. Worse, his best friend was in on the plot. (Never, ever ignore an ancient Roman prophet. Just don’t do it.)
And of course tomorrow makes up for the menacing Ides of March with the Luck of the Irish! It is St. Patrick’s Day, when all things Irish are celebrated – that goes for Shamrock shakes, green beer, corned beef, and Irish luck. In some places – like Savannah – March 17 is a bigger deal than Christmas, and everybody gets the day off.
In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is not a wild party. Most people go to church during the day and it is a sober, obligatory time of reflection. Saint Patrick himself was brought as a slave to Ireland as a young boy. He escaped years later, but returned to the Irish as a holy man. Most Catholics know him as the man who cast the snakes out of Ireland.
I always liked St. Patrick’s Day, but am baffled by the way people will really get in to celebrating it. I’m talking about adults who dress up as leprechauns and start drinking at 8 a.m. and that kind of thing. Maybe I don’t throw myself into it because I’m only part Irish. I’m a real American mutt, with all kinds of European ancestry in me. Tonight, I’ve even got a little Cap’n in me!
Anyway, the great thing about St. Patrick’s Day is there’s enough luck to go around, and you don’t have to be Irish or part Irish to get a little bit of the magic. I’m not an ancient Roman prophet, but I believe it’s a special day that has something no other day does.
A little Gaelic toast to you:
Go bhfana í ngrá linn,
Iad siúd atá í ngrá linn.
Iad siúd nach bhfuil,
Go gcasa Dia a gcroíthe.
Agus muna gcasann Sé a gcroíthe
Go gcasa Sé caol na coise acu
Go n-aithneoimid iad as a mbacadaíl.
May those who love us,
And those who do not love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping.