Americans have an odd habit of assimilating cultural and religious holidays and blending them into nonsensical slush like a cheap margarita in a blender. Saint Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, and New Year’s Day have all become excuses to drink too much. Independence Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, are about fireworks; commercialism, gifts, and toys; overeating poultry; candy, eggs, and bunnies respectively. I like all of those things as much as anybody, but do we have to tarnish the true message of these holidays with that junk? Washington, Franklin, and the Wampanoag tribe deserve better than that. As for Jesus, that’s another post altogether. I will now break down what St. Patty’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Mardi Gras are actually about.
Fat Tuesday is here, show me your breasts! Another Catholic shin-dig degraded to public nudity and drunkenness, the priests must be so proud! Also called Carnival, it is the last day before Ash Wednesday and the fasting of Lent, Shrove Tuesday is a day of confession followed by celebration and indulgence before Lent. Wearing masks, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, are traditional ways of celebrating the day. New Orleans was founded by the French on the day of Mardi Gras in 1699, and has deep French and Cajun roots. Over time the celebration came to be expanded to honor the French Quarter native’s heritage. In Brazil, Carnival attracts nearly three quarters of the country’s tourism traffic each year. Carnival in Brazil is famous for the spectacle of its visually dazzling parades filled with dances of costumed yet nearly naked women. The New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition of flashing a chest for beads was galvanized by businesses and individuals trying to produce voyeuristic pornography. Only the slutty tourist women are dumb enough to have their bodies exposed all over the internet for shiny plastic beads.
Saint Patrick’s Day
Over the last several days, I have been asking strangers if they knew what exactly is being celebrated on this day, and what Mr. Patrick did. Most have not known, the majority that said they did claimed he expelled a plague of snakes from Ireland (which is at least consistent with Catholic legend). A few folks responded that he brought Christianity to Ireland. This is what the holiday is really supposed to celebrate. As for the reason people wear green, which was perhaps the most curious thing about the holiday to me personally, it is because the green is symbolic of three leaved shamrock plants which St. Patrick supposedly used to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people. It’s really an Irish Catholic holiday. The Irish celebrate it by attending a church service and drinking excessively. In fact, there was once a law passed in Ireland to close the pubs during the holiday. Oops I guess my theory that Americans are mis-celebrating the holiday was wrong. Still, if you’re going to go out drinking just because it’s St. Patty’s Day, it’s less pathetic if you at least know what you are celebrating.
Cinco de Mayo
No, it’s not Mexican Independence Day. It is called The Day of the Battle of Puebla in Mexico where it is celebrated más o menos only in Puebla. On that day in 1862, the outnumbered Mexican Army beat the French which gave the Mexicans a huge morale boost and helped them to go on and win the war. La fecha real de Independencía Mexicano es el 16 de septiembre, muchachos. Interestingly, the holiday is significantly more popular in the United States, due to both the Chicano Movement seeking to empower Mexican Americans and their enhanced celebration of their heritage as Mexican Americans, and also because of the way marketers used the holiday to sell Mexican beer. Almost all whites or non-Latin Americans who purport that they know the meaning of the holiday think it’s Mexican Independence Day. I guess marketers have tricked Americans into buying more beer–I can’t believe it 😉