With the arrival of springtime and March comes life, green, pinching, and the controversial St. Patrick’s day.
Many people take issue with St. Patrick’s Day for two main reasons: the overlooking of its historical significance to the Irish community and the political, moral, and religious controversies that it’s brought about. The former of the two is often considered to be the less severe.
St. Patrick’s Day is intended to be the celebration of St. Patrick- a man who escaped his enslavement in Ireland only to return to convert the Irish to Catholicism. Instead, it’s looked at as a day of partying and drinking. From a business perspective, it’s just seen as a great marketing opportunity for companies like Guinness.
Another reason people disagree with the holiday is because of the St. Patrick’s Day parades held in New York. Because St. Patrick’s Day is actually a religious holiday, there has been a clash between Catholic ideologies and the LGBT community up until recently.
Almost all of the 29 St. Patrick’s Day parades held in New York are inclusive to the LGBT community. All but one: the Staten Island parade. Usually, members of certain communities will march under a banner that represents their community, but Staten Island does not allow the LGBT community to march under one such banner.
Organizers of the Staten Island Parade state that a banner representing this community goes against the tenets of Catholicism by promoting a homosexual lifestyle. They argued that the parade is for the celebration of Irish heritage and culture and nothing else. The organizers claimed that the celebration of something that goes against their ideologies on a Catholic holiday would be inappropriate.
However, Irish residents of Staten Island claim they just want to celebrate their rich heritage free of discrimination. These residents also argued that Catholicism has taken a more accepting approach thanks to Pope Francis who has openly endorsed same-sex marriage, thus making the organizers argument about Catholic ideologies moot. Others say they don’t want their religion to be used as a weapon against the LGBT community.
St. Patrick’s Day often has its historical meaning overlooked, and is instead written off as a day to party and drink. Moreover, up until as recently as the last St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2020, Staten Island has still barred the LGBT community from marching under their own banner in the parade. Whatever the reason, many people take issue with the holiday, but they hope that its cultural significance can be respected and that it can be inclusive to people of all walks of life.