The luck of the Irish and other St. Patrick’s Day myths

In The Wind by Mark DeLap

Mark DeLap
Posted 3/15/23

A weekly column by Mark DeLap

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The luck of the Irish and other St. Patrick’s Day myths

In The Wind by Mark DeLap


Ever since March 1, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began in Chicago and in Dublin. They say that drinking on New Year’s Eve is amateur night compared to the drinking that occurs on St. Patty’s month in Chicago. Yeah, I’m pretty sure they don’t have a day, but the whole month to celebrate.

As the extra daylight has come upon us, we know that March is beginning to blossom and we may or may not still be cursing the groundhog come the end of the month. That seems more likely than finding a four-leaf clover, as here in Wyoming we usually have a few good slushy soakers left in the bag to be dumped.

It’s that time of year when I sing the praises of spring, it is my annual birthday celebration (A classic 56 this year) St. Patrick’s Day, the NCAA heats up with March Madness, we start counting the days until our taxes need an extension and I like to research all the National Days of record for the month.

Ah… everyone that is not Irish gets to wear the magic button at the pubs. “Kiss me I’m Irish.” Those of us who are Irish, our bucket list is heading to the motherland and kissing a stone. I have had some fortunate and you may say, “four-leaf clover” St. Patrick holidays.  

I was in Scotland when it becomes very festive even though they don’t particularly care for the Irish. But, Ireland does have a holiday named for an Irish Apostle who was born in Scotland. Aye. Patrick. Look it up… no Irish blarney on that fact.

Chicago. A distant memory where the entire city goes green and my favorite place to celebrate. They dye the entire Chicago River green, the fish become green for a few days, the beer is green, the clovers are out in force and at many Karaoke bars and the only song that you are allowed by law to sing is “Oh Danny Boy.” At first, it’s pretty redundant until the green beer kicks in and then, with a plate of corn beef and cabbage, you find the song becoming more sentimental as the night goes on and your “hash” is salted by tears.

Then there’s one of the only places in the country that still holds the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade. Now, by the time this is published, the parade will be over. According to the St. Patrick’s Day parade website (yes a parade with its own website), “The Parade always occurs on a Saturday. If St. Patrick's Day does not fall on a Saturday, the Parade is held the Saturday before. The next Parade will be on, Saturday, March 11, 2023. The Parade WILL STEP OFF AT 12:30 p.m.”

Don’t you just love it?  They “Stepped off…”  Even the jargon is magically derivative. And, a parade that begins an entire week before the actual FRIDAY NIGHT CELEBRATION lets you know that I’m not lying. It’s a monthlong blowout bash.  

The fact that St. Patrick’s Day is on Friday this year also has special meaning in that, supposedly the weekend which begins Thursday night is accompanied by saints who have passed on and guardian angels who want to be reassigned to another human being.

The city is now green. You can smell the corned beef and cabbage from as far away as southern Wisconsin and eastern Indiana and everyone is sporting green hats in search of pots filled with gold.

Fun facts about St. Patty’s Day:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and not St. Patty’s Day according to the SPD legalists.

The Irish symbol is the shamrock and not the four-leaf clover.

Green beer and shamrocks are more common in Chicago, Boston and New York than in Dublin.

It’s a celebration of Christianity coming to Ireland. (And heathens coming to Chicago.)

St. Patrick used a shamrock to teach the trinity to the unchurched and represented new birth as when spring came to the emerald Isle.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston in 1737.

Lucky Charms is not the official cereal of the day nor did it originate in Ireland, though they remain magically delicious. And eating the pink hearts on St. Patrick’s Day will bring your true love.

Corn beef and cabbage is an American classic made famous in early Jewish delis of New York

So, let the March madness begin, say an AVE for Wisconsin who may change their mascot from a badger to a possum because this year they got killed at home and played dead on the road. Put some green food coloring in your drinks and find a good place to do an Irish jig.  Can’t dance you tell me? Evidently, and don’t quote me on this, green beer and Irish whiskey cures that inability.

I would also like to remind you that St. Patrick’s Day is usually notorious for a guest appearance by Mother Nature who brings Jack Frost and a freezing pant-load of snow. Rumor has it, Ma is Irish and she’s kissing every one of you Irish “wannaees” wearing the buttons. Just… STOP. Put down the button and back away slowly.

By next week my NCAA bracket will already be in the toilet and my picks (always chosen with great optimism) always start out well and then they lean on the stick and send me into a nosedive. Which is why I would always call my bracket, DeLap’s luck o’ the Irish and smile politely as the 87th person is singing “Oh Danny Boy,” at Fado’s Irish Pub. In Chicago. One day… I shall return.

Meanwhile, today is National PI Day and tomorrow is not only International ‘Eat An Animal for Peta Day’ but also the Ides of March. Yeah, it doesn’t do much for me either, but it could be worse… we could all be under a National Quarantine Day as we were just three years ago.

Be careful out there this week, party responsibly, green it up fervently and love wholeheartedly.