There’s no holiday literally greener than St. Patrick’s Day.
When I was growing up, if you weren’t wearing green on March 17th, you were guaranteed to get pinched — hard — by your classmates for pretty much the entire day. It wasn’t fun. To this day, I’m still a little paranoid about not wearing green when this holiday rolls around.
Patrick may not have been a particularly “green” saint himself — the legend of his driving the snakes out of Ireland is often viewed as an allegory for ridding the country of the Druids and other Pagan folk (who were traditionally connected to the Earth and turning of the seasons). While he used the three-leafed shamrock to demonstrate the Christian Trinity, this same clover is also used to symbolize the three faces of the Goddess — Maiden, Mother, Crone — and the phases of the moon.
Most folks don’t concern themselves with history or symbolism on St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, many will celebrate the holiday by getting drunk on green beers at the local bar or pub.
But this holiday can be about much more than wearing green or drinking green. It can be about being green.
Chicago has a long-standing tradition of dyeing the river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This used to be done with fluorescent dyes that later were proved to be harmful to the environment. Today — though officials still won’t give up the secret to their methods — the ingredients in the dye are said to be safe and will not harm the river’s fish population.
So this morning, I’m trying to come up with ways to make March 17th a truly green holiday. It’s the perfect time of year to go to work in the garden to ensure a good harvest come summer and fall. While the corned beef and cabbage is stewing, I can waltz through my bookshelves and pull out titles I no longer need — to be donated to the library or sold to Powells.
There won’t be any green beer in my glass today, but it’s not a bad time to research food dyes and to take a closer look at the labels on food products already in my home. As I’m rummaging through the closet for something green to wear, I can take a few minutes to sort through clothing items I no longer need, to be donated to charity.
I can surf over to Planet Green for some of their tips on going green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Or, if I’m feeling really stumped and don’t mind being a little hokey, I can let the three-leafed shamrock remind me to “Reduce, Re-use and Recycle” today and every day.
What are your green St. Patrick’s Day ideas?