The Evolution of St. Patrick's DayWhit Honea
“There weren’t any leprechaun tracks, or clovers, or gold! The leprechauns didn’t come.”
My wife and I were still in bed. It was 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday, and my plans for the day began with breakfast, which was penciled in for 8:30 at the earliest. The night before had run late with a box of Wheat Thins and a thick DVR, because that’s how we do it. There had never been any talk of leprechauns.
When I was a boy we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by wearing whatever green we had, even if it was on our underwear, to ensure that we would not be pinched. And then we spent the day pinching anyone that didn’t get the memo. There may have been an art project or some green-frosted cupcakes, but that was about it.
As a college student the holiday reached new heights, which usually involved a full day drinking cheap, green beer, a full night of debauchery, and every jukebox set to Van Morrison.
Eventually St. Patrick’s Day, as an excuse to for excess, faded into the green jeans of my closet, and the holiday came full circle—or as full circle as it could be in a world where playful pinching had been thrown out with the reckless and politically incorrect bathwater of my youth. Pinching, it seems, is frowned upon.
My boys have spent their respective St. Patrick’s Days wearing green and coloring within the lines of stereotypes with shades of emerald stretching from the forest to the sea—all the greens of the rainbow. As a holiday it as been slightly more interactive than Groundhog Day, and somewhat less engaging than Arbor. But things are changing.
The last couple of years the boys have gone to school only to find their classrooms in total disarray thanks to the mischievous shenanigans of leprechauns and whatever ruffians they happen to run with. The children have scoured the playground and adjacent public park for signs of said leprechauns, and they have set traps beneath trees, swing sets, and anywhere else one might enjoy a bowl of Lucky Charms.
What does this mean for parents? Apparently St. Patrick’s Day now has stuff, and it is aiming to become a major holiday player with kids by working overtime to fill the lull between Valentine’s and Easter. It is doing so with the sweetest candy there is: gold.
“The leprechaun is supposed to leave gold coins in our room! When you wake up on St. Patrick’s Day there should be a whole pot of it!”
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” I said. “It must be a new program they are rolling out, and I didn’t sign up.”
Then he left, content that his outrage had been adequately displayed, and counting down the minutes until breakfast.
I stayed in bed, wondering if I’d been had.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).