St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, after all. So why do people get drunk to celebrate it?
At the age of about sixteen, a young man from Great Britain was taken against his will to become a slave in Ireland. He spent six years there before escaping back to his home. Despite the traumatic introduction to the Emerald Isle, however, the young man became a cleric and returned to Ireland.
Eventually the young man became a bishop and converted thousands of people to Christianity, even working with the very wealthy and with royalty. After a while, Saint Patrick became regarded as the patron saint of Ireland.
That was way back in the fifth century.
Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is all about getting drunk off one’s ass. March 17th, the day of Saint Patrick’s death, is used to commemorate him, and it’s that date which is the reason why it’s now a day for drinking.
Christians have a tradition called Lent, which is a solemn religious observance in the six weeks before Easter. It involves giving up vices for that six week period, except that on St. Patrick’s Day the restrictions of Lent were lifted.
So it turns out that St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally the only day in six weeks on which Irish Christians were allowed to drink. As if people needed an excuse in the first place, this tradition has carried on through the years to what we have today!