I never considered Saint Patrick’s day a religious holiday even though part of the name includes the word “saint.” Perhaps it’s because I do not go to church services on March 17th like Irish Catholics do. I do attend church, but my church does not recognize it in any way. While I was researching the history of Saint Patrick’s day, I learned that everyone celebrates Saint Patrick’s day a little differently. This year, a Massachusetts school took that to a new level.
The principal, Lisa Curtin, of Soule Road School wanted to be more inclusive. She recognized that not all of her students are Christian or celebrate the day in a religious manner. Since the holiday is rooted in religious tradition and bares the name “saint,” the school celebrated O’Green day. They did the same thing with Saint Valentine’s day by renaming the day “Caring and Kind Day.”
While I was researching the how people celebrate, I found out that most of the countries that recognize Saint Patrick’s Day see it as a secular holiday and as a day to celebrate all things Irish. During our country’s history, the Irish were the butt of many jokes and were marginalized. While their plight was nothing compared to those of emancipated slaves or blacks during the integration years, being remotely Irish set back many people as they tried to get jobs, run for political office, and more. Was it really necessary to rename the day? In a society that celebrates our heritage with Black history month and Columbus Day, does it really hurt to teach our kids about this holiday? I do not think so.