Of Snakes and Saints

March 9, 2012 at 4:19 am 1 comment

Every March I hear Pagans proclaim that we shouldn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day because he converted Ireland to Christianity and suppressed the old religion. First off,  St. Patrick wasn’t entirely responsible for the conversion of the Irish people. Both Scottish and English missionaries had come there before him, but he was very influential in spreading the religion.

Secondly, the conversion of Ireland and Britain was fairly peaceful. So it wasn’t this “Evil Patriarchal Christians vs. Good Goddess-Worshipping Pagans” scenario you find in Mists of Avalon and other fantasy novels.  They’re just that:  fantasy novels!  The Irish people were quite receptive to the Gospel- here is an article about the conversion of Britain, and the reasons an Anglo-Saxon king found it appealing- it was probably similar in Ireland.

Well, enough history. So, should we, as Pagans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? We aren’t a monolithic group, it’s a personal choice.  I think those who do and don’t celebrate should respect each others choices.

In the United States, and other countries in the Irish Diaspora (Canada, Australia etc.) St. Paddy’s Day is a cultural holiday rather than a religion, a celebration of Irish heritage and culture. It’s more of a religious holiday in Ireland, but the American version has been spreading there as well.   I was raised with pride in my heritage and so we always had fun wearing green, listening to music and such.  So why change that?

If anyone reading this is in or near St. Paul- I invite you to the Irish Music & Dance Association’s celebration at the Landmark Center.  It’s a great time, with music, dancing, workshops on topics of interest and vendors

Enjoy yourselves, but  please drink responsibly and choose a Designated Driver just in  case. Metro Transit also has free rides after 6pm on March 17th.

 

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Entry filed under: Celtic/Druid, Christianity, Holidays, Interfaith, Pagan Communities. Tags: , , , , .

Imbolc Ritual at the SPC Sacred Cauldron by Tadhg MacCrossan

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