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St. Patrick’s Day— GREEN…..Wear it or Pay it!
For me, Ireland and its rich history conjures up images of great poets, deep thinkers and expressive literary giants such as James Joyce, W. B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde. It’s a day set aside for St. Patrick-- the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland and a day to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is a holiday that celebrates the Irish heritage, the eating of corned beef and cabbage, of believing in leprechauns and thinking that this might be your lucky day-- a day when all of us are Irish whether we have roots in that culture or not.
Celebrations in Ireland and in many cities in the US involve lively public parades and festivals where many choose to be Irish by wearing the color green—a symbol of that great country, but unfortunately it’s also one where many confuse this wonderful holiday with drinking enough whiskey to actually turn green. Drinking has become synonymous with St. “Paddy’s” Day and has made what should be a celebration of a culture into a dangerous and deadly holiday where driving and drinking becomes a blurred reality. Each year, authorities report a dramatic uptick of alcohol-related incidents on St. Patrick's Day. In 2012, over one-third of all car accidents that occurred in the US on March 17th involved alcohol. These accidents resulted in almost 50 deaths.
Saint Patrick's Day is a cultural and religious holiday not one to become a drunken free for all. If caught behind the wheel after tipping a few at your favorite local pub your Irish luck will run out to the tune of 93 days in jail, $500 fine, 360 hours of community service, 180 days driving suspension and 6 points on your driver's license. Be Irish and be smart…. don’t drink and drive!