By Alexandria Jezina, Columnist
Last Saturday Hofstra celebrated Saint Patrick's Day, a day when everyone's Irish and most of us are less than sober. Friends celebrated by heading off to the city to wander around and find a good time, go to McHebes (the most Irish-sounding bar in Hempstead), or hit up some of the numerous fraternity parties. Even though today the majority of adults and college students use Saint Patty's Day to drink themselves unconscious, it's original intent was to celebrate the Catholic Saint Patrick, whose actual name was Maewyn Succat.
Maewyn Succat was born in the British Isles, not Ireland, near Dumbarton, Scotland around 387 A.D. He was a Catholic Priest who changed his name to Patrick after becoming a priest. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish marauders, who enslaved him in Ireland for six years until he was able to escape and return to his family. After escaping back to Britain, he entered a monastery and was eventually promoted to priesthood. He then returned to Ireland as a missionary, spreading the word of God and Catholicism to Celtic tribes across Ireland.
He is also known for comparing the Holy Trinity to a three-leaf clover, which we associate with the Irish today. Today people from all walks of life celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in their own way. The celebration of St. Patrick's Day in the United States originated in New York City in 1762 with the first St. Patrick's Day parade in the world. Since 1848 the parade has been the largest civilian parade in the world. Today there are more Irish descendants in the United States than Ireland.
Back in Ireland, parades took place across the country. The biggest of all took place in the Irish capital of Dublin with a two-hour procession. The parades were still extremely festive despite debt troubles affecting the country with unemployment reaching 14.4 percent. 50,000 residents have emigrated looking for jobs in the debt-ridden country.
There were also bomb threat scares in Northern Ireland from Protestant extremists. Though the Irish flag symbolizes the neutrality of Protestants and Catholics, with the flag's green representing Catholics, orange representing Protestants, and white symbolizing a peaceful relationship of the two religions, confrontations still persists today. As in many other conflicts today, religion can lead to tension rather than unity with one's fellow man.
While some may mistake St. Patrick's Day as a drunken celebration, I hope people will realize that it can be quite the opposite and is with the majority of holidays a time to celebrate with friends and family and have a good time. We tend to forget about the holiday's religious meanings and rather stress silly ideas like wearing green to avoid being pinched by "leprechauns." So next St. Patrick's Day, when you're wearing your green beads, don't forget to celebrate the Irish Saint Patrick and the Irish in general, not just a bottle of Guinness.