Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Chicago, cheers for getting that river of yours green once again! South Boston, congratulations on getting your original parade route restored! Savannah, keep your parade tradition (192 years now - wow) going strong!
What can possibly be said about St. Patrick’s Day that hasn’t already been said thousands of times over? Let’s start with St. Paddy’s, St. Pat’s and St. Patty’s nicknames. If you feel the need to shorten this lauded saint’s name, the correct form is Paddy, not Patty. Why? For starters it’s because Paddy is the correct nickname for Pádraig, the Irish version (and possibly origin) of Patrick. Second, because Patty is, as the website Paddy Not Patty makes very clear, the diminutive form of Patricia, not Patrick. So, if you can’t fight your compulsion to give Saint Patrick a nickname, go with Pat, Paddy, Podge, Pod, Pád or Packie and leave Patty to your friends named Patricia. Or hamburgers. There – that should give you, your bar staff and your guests plenty to argue about, playfully of course.
Now that we’ve gotten his name sorted, let’s further discuss St. Patrick. He wasn’t Irish. Ka-BOOM! Minds blown. Patrick was, in fact, a British nobleman, and he was kidnapped by Irish pirates. According to author Philip Freeman, Patrick came from a religious family but was an atheist during his earlier years. His faith returned to him while he was a slave in Ireland. Patrick gave the slip to his captors after 17 years, fled to Britain, and came back to Ireland, this time as a missionary. March 17 is believed to be the date Patrick died.