Even though my family is many generations removed from the Emerald Isle, I always took great pride in my Irish surname. I was born a Cavanaugh, so St Paddy’s Day was always a fun way to show my Bród na nGael.
When I first began exploring Wicca and Paganism, I was completely dismayed to discover most people felt the myth of Saint Patrick driving all the snakes from Ireland meant he actually drove away all the Pagans (and by drove, I mean tortured and killed). How could I, in good conscience, continue to celebrate such a horrible historic event?
Turns out, the historic version is about as accurate as the myth. I found an article a few years back on Patheos that tackled this particular piece of myth-information. The following sums it up nicely –
The simple fact is that paganism thrived in Ireland for generations after Patrick lived and died, and, as Lupus puts it, ” the ‘final’ Christianization of the culture didn’t take place until the fourteenth century CE.” There was no Irish pagan genocide, no proof of any great violent Druid purge in Ireland, it simply doesn’t exist outside hagiography. ~ Jason Pitzl-Waters
Between that clarification, and the secularization of the holiday, I feel I can still be a good witch, and wish everyone a Happy Saint Paddy’s day next week.
How do my Wiccan and Pagan friends feel about this particular holiday? Any non-Irish readers out there who still love donning the green and celebrating? Feel free to shout out in the comment section below.