Saint Patrick's Day was once a day of mourning because it marked the day on which Saint Patrick died, but now it is a day when his life is celebrated. The Irish simply honour their patron Saint by wearing Shamrocks, going to mass and attending special religious services. They also have community gatherings and enjoy family feasts. In comparison; Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland is more like the Canadian Thanksgiving or even Remembrance Day.
Saint Patrick's Day should not be made into a statutory holiday in Canada. Most Canadians do not even know what Saint Patrick's Day is actually about or who Saint Patrick was to the Irish people. In Canada March 17 th is a secular holiday celebrated by having gaudy parades, rowdy parties and lavish drinking; it is commercial and false. Saint Patrick's Day is potentially one more day off each year to Canadians. Greeting card companies, the candy manufacturers and now even beer companies have continually tried to commercialize and create other secular holidays in order to increase their market value, for example: Administrative Professionals Day (formally Secretaries Day), Boss Day, Grandparents Day and even Flag Day to celebrate the stars and stripes. From Halloween to Valentines Day, and Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, we are bombarded by all the merchandise we ought to buy to enhance these holidays.
Last year Guinness held a promotion trying to persuade the people of Canada to have Saint Patrick's Day made into a statutory holiday; it is safe to say that they had an increase in sales due to the promotion. Should the beer companies feel the need to follow suite? Well, why not if they can turn it to profit. All we need as consumers are more reasons to buy greeting cards chocolates and alcohol. Having Saint Patrick's Day made into a statutory holiday would prove nothing other than having another religious holiday turned into a commercialized event. Saint Patrick was a missionary credited with converting most of the Pagan population in Ireland to Christianity. He was believed to have been born in Roman Britain.
At the age of sixteen, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was forced into slaver. During his time in Ireland, he learned about the pagan beliefs and culture and how to speak Gaelic. For six years, he tended to the sheep of the Irish chieftains and through it became deeply religious. In a dream, he had a vision of a ship that would take him from Ireland. He escaped to the coast and returned home. Despite his family's efforts to keep him home, Patrick decided to dedicate his life to God and trained in France.
In another dream, the Irish people who were in need of salvation called him back. Saint Patrick went to Ireland as a Bishop and preached all across the country. He used a tree leaf shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. He suffered many troubles in his journey and threats to his life. Saint Patrick claimed God saved him from death on twelve occasions. Despite his hardships, Patrick converted and baptized over 120, 000 people and founded over thirty parishes presided over by preacher whom he had ordained.
Ireland made Patrick their patron saint because he made it his mission to bring them to God. Although many Irish descendants live in Canada there are not enough to merit the implementation of Saint Patrick's Day as a non-secular holiday. The crude symbols Canadians use to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day along with our irreverent behaviour are not indicative of the reverence a saint deserves. The reasons for Saint Patrick's Day becoming a holiday in Canada would be a mockery towards the Irish and to the true meaning of the day.
Many immigrants who have settled in North America have religious holidays that they celebrate. Saint Patrick's Day is a religious holiday for the Irish. Other than Saint Patrick's Day none of these religious holidays have been as widely celebrated by non- parishioners. Saint Patrick's Day is the only national holiday recognized outside its native country. This is greatly due to the influences of Irish immigrants.
In the late 1700's Irish Militia paraded behind their band with their banners swinging high on March 17 th on the way to a Saint Patrick's Day breakfast. Many of the onlookers joined the march. The parade, greatly enjoyed by all, has since then become an annual event in over 100 cities across North America. Christmas and Easter are the only statutory religious holidays in Canada and in order to be fair it should be kept that way or we must also recognize the holidays of all other ethnic groups as well.
If we were to implement all religious holidays we would have very few working days left. Holidays are fake and artificial and focused on material issues. Holidays are supposed to be nice; they give us a break for work or school. Holidays should bring families together or allow us the opportunity to reflect on our lives. We do not need one more day off for the sake of parades and drinking. In Ireland Saint Patrick's Day is not about green clothing, jolly leprechauns or green beer.
Saint Patrick's Day does not hold the same value for Canadians as it does for the Irish people. The People of Ireland have recognized Saint Patrick as their patron saint for the trials he went through in bringing them God and they honour him accordingly. Saint Patrick's Day is a religious holiday for the Irish. Canada is not an Irish community.
By implementing Saint Patrick's Day as one of our statutory holidays we would only prove that, we are willing to promote the continued commercialization of others and our own religious holidays.