St. Patrickâ€™s Day is a holiday in Ireland designed to celebrate Patrick, the patron saint of the nation, who introduced Christianity to the pagans there.
But in Ireland, things are quite different from the way they are here in America.
The United States has been celebrating St. Patrickâ€™s Day with parades for centuries. In fact, the first organized celebration of St. Paddyâ€™s Day dates back to 1737 in Boston. By contrast, the first organized celebrations in Ireland didnâ€™t begin until 1996 in Dublin.
In Ireland, since the day is not only a national holiday but a Catholic holy day, people there go to Mass. Some also journey to Croagh Patrick, the location at which St. Patrick is said to have used the power of God to banish the snakes from Ireland.
Green beer was not involved. In fact, other than the lovely green rolling hills in the Irish countryside and the green in the countryâ€™s flag, the Irish donâ€™t associate that color with St. Patrick.
When they hear the name, they think of the color blue.
If we had never seen a St. Paddyâ€™s Day celebration before, walking into one for the first time and seeing blue everywhere probably wouldnâ€™t strike us as being so strange. But here in America, I doubt if weâ€™ll ever ditch the green. Nothing else â€” no matter how unconnected it may be to St. Patrick himself â€” would seem so right.
In any case, I wish you all a Happy St. Patrickâ€™s Day, and if you wish to abbreviate it, I wish you a Happy St. Paddyâ€™s Day. Remember that the abbreviation is never â€œSt. Pattyâ€™s,â€ since Patty is short for Patricia and Paddy is the traditional abbreviation for Patrick.
I donâ€™t recognize holidays designed to allow one to depart from good grammar.