Sunday, March 16, 2008

st patrick's day and the midwest

there are very few days out of the year when i wish i was still living in chicago. today, of course, is no exception - however, knowing that i could be this girl certainly sweetens the pot. that's right - the famous st. patrick's day parade; celebrated in honor of the snake-chasing man himself with copious amounts of green beer and an already murky river downtown being dyed 'emerald.'

[little-known fact: march 17th is an official public holiday in ireland (naturally), Montserrat (a leetle British island in the Leewards) and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Why only that province, i do not know. don't you worry, though, the good folks at guinness are lobbying to make march 17th a federal holiday in the great country of canada.]

don't be fooled by the deceptively tranquil look of the picture above. chicago in march is one of the harshest, ugliest, most god-forsaken places in the entire world. i kid you not. just about the time when the rest of the world is witnessing blooming crocuses and daffodils, watching baby animals take their first steps and smelling freshly-mown grass; just then, it is a bone-chilling twenty-four degrees in the windy city, with biting winds causing the "feels like" temperature to plummet to the single digits.

so, i suppose it's only natural that a place like this would want to celebrate . . . well, any occasion with something to take their collective minds off of their misery (not to mention Seasonal Affective Disorder). however, i never really understood why st. patrick himself was celebrated. i mean, turns out that even the snake thing is bunk. and why the beer? pat was a fairly pious man; i hardly think he would go around partaking of the green party juice.
all of this, however, was resolved when i learned that mr. patrick is credited with having taught the simple folk of ireland the concept of the trinity - explaining that just as a shamrock is one unit composed of three distinct leaves, so the trinity comprises the three figures of the godhead: father, son, and holy spirit.

(i've wondered what happens if he happens to grab a four-leafed clover when imparting his wisdom to those around him. i can just picture the conversation:
"but saint patrick, what about the fourth leaf? what does that represent in the trinity?"
"oh, shit!")

so, you know, there's that. party on, chicago. party on.

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