Because of the huge number of people who are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today, if you are among them, then statistically you are probably not Irish. There is even a big celebration in Tokyo, which is not normally known for its brogue.
There are several reasons you might celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In descending order of likelihood:
- You like to hang out and have fun
- It’s a socially-accepted excuse to get drunk on a Tuesday
- You really like green beer
- You’re an Irish Catholic
But come on. St. Patrick’s Day is so mainstream. If you want to be really cool, I have a better celebration for you: the feast of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, which is also on March 17. Here are five ways to celebrate March 17 that no one else is doing.
5. Open Your House to Couch Surfers
Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of travelers, so it’s a good idea to take in some travelers today. However, make sure you mention to people that you’re only doing it because of the holiday. If they ask if you’re having a party for St. Patrick’s Day, look rather shocked and say you’re celebrating St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day. Then expound about how Gertrude of Nivelles welcomed people of all types, especially Irish monks. Make sure you mention this too when you invite green-clad drunken revelers into your house late at night and explain why you have no beer for them.
4. Plant Something
Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of gardeners, so carry around a house plant all day, the more obscure the better. Remember, if anyone asks about it, that’s your perfect time to explain you’re not doing it because it’s green, but because of Gertrude of Nivelles.
3. Dress up Like a Cat
This is bound to confuse people, especially if it’s not a green cat. They will probably think you started drinking early and mixed up Halloween with St. Patrick’s Day. You can then explain that, in fact, Gertrude of Nivelles loved her some cats and is often portrayed with them. If this doesn’t impress anyone, put up random cat memes based on her. Make reddit fall in love with this 1400-year-old nun.
2. Stand on a Chair and Start Screaming
Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of “Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats” so doing this will definitely give you a chance to explain to people how you are celebrating the holiday in your own way and explain why this is way better than pinning a shamrock to your coat.
1. Get a Tonsure
This is the best and most hipster way to show you are a celebrating an obscure holiday that other people just don’t get. A tonsure, by the way, is when you shave all the hair on top of your head but leave a crown of hair around the edges, like this:
This is especially effective if you are a girl, because when people inevitably wonder if you have gone crazy, you can explain that Gertrude of Nivelle’s mother gave her a tonsure cut in order to keep “violent abductors from tearing her daughter away by force,” i.e. marry her.
So, the choice is clear, either go out to a party, wear green, drink beer, and do that horrible attempt at an Irish accent that you do and be one of the crowd, or stay at home, welcoming in traveling, loving cats and plants, hating mice, and knowing smugly that you are celebrating the festival that just isn’t “cool.”
Note: All information is this post is totally true and accurate.
March 17th, 2015 at 8:02 pm
I feel compelled to celebrate St. Gertrude next year.
March 17th, 2015 at 8:25 pm
I’m going to make up T-shirts. I’ll let you know. 🙂
March 17th, 2015 at 9:17 pm
Happy holiday. Seems like that celebration is not observed here in Manila.
March 17th, 2015 at 10:13 pm
St. Patrick’s Day, do you mean? I wouldn’t think so. It’s biggest in America, I think, or anywhere where are a lot of Irish people. We didn’t celebrate it growing up.
March 18th, 2015 at 6:55 pm
Ah! That’s why only in the Internet can I find all about St. Patrick’s. 🙂 Not a chance of any first-hand experience.
March 18th, 2015 at 10:11 pm
The Internet is a great place for having all kinds of experiences second-hand you can’t have in real life. 🙂
March 18th, 2015 at 7:42 am
For starters, I love the pictures, and never heard of this Saint. And I’m saint happy. I love the expression: saints are sinners that kept on trying.
New York celebrates St. Patty’s day in a big way so I was surrounded by men in kilts and young girls with green eye shadow. Cops, firemen. You can’t even walk where I am.
I love the idea of planting something. Thanks for turning me on to her. Great essay.
March 18th, 2015 at 11:54 am
Thanks, Susannah. It was written almost tongue in cheek, but it is all true information and it seems like the patron saint of cats would do well on the Internet. I may start a campaign. 🙂
There are more Scandinavian immigrants in this area than Irish, so it wasn’t really a big deal here. Of course, New York City has the biggest parade in the world, so I’m sure the city turned green for a day.
March 18th, 2015 at 6:38 pm
You have no idea, from bagels to beer.
March 19th, 2015 at 9:18 am
She sounds like my kind of saint!
March 19th, 2015 at 8:39 pm
🙂 Cats and gardening, what’s not to love, right?
March 22nd, 2015 at 12:00 am
I was watching the Leprechaun movies… St Patrick’s day has lost quite a lot of charm after that 😉
March 22nd, 2015 at 2:31 pm
Yeah, I haven’t actually watched them, but they’re ridiculous, from what I’ve seen.