Saturday, March 15, 2008

Irish Bishops move St. Patrick's Day

Today is declared St Patrick’s day.... by some religious people. The rest of the Irish world goes on as usual. Here is the press release:
“Ireland's bishops have shifted the feast day because St Patricks Day (March 17, 2008) falls on the second day of Holy Week. The liturgical norms would require the feast day to be moved to the earliest available date after Easter, which would be April 1. But church officials said the Vatican approved the March 15 date in order to minimize conflict with the scheduled civic events.
While religious celebrations honouring St. Patrick are affected, secular authorities stressed this would not change secular festivities. The St. Patrick's Festival Committee in Dublin confirmed that the St Patrick’s parade would be March 17 as usual. In addition, Monday, March 17, will remain an official day off of work in Ireland”.

And I found this illustrative of how society has appropriated religious festivals and used them for socio-economic purposes: Easter, Christmas, St Patrick... it is all one and the same. Why allow religious scruples to interfere with making money (or making merry)? Holy Week, a time for reflection and spiritual preparation, is just an inconvenience to the important business of making money off the back of St Patrick. In the same way more and more shops invite us to come on Easter Sunday to spend our money on their Easter specials.

I remain convinced that religious people can mark their convictions by resisting the temptation to be consumers on our holy days. It is enough that we worship at the altar of mammon most days of the week. I invite us to mark a shift in our allegiance by not shopping on Holy Days.

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

There was an article the other day about how many billion was lost to the economy by having public holidays in April and May -- and soon they will be calculating how much is lost in a 5-day week, and perhaps they'll soon be complaining about an 8-hour day. If people don't work 24/7, then perhaps they should be at leasst working 16/7, with a day off for shopping to buy asll the stuff they produce the rest of the time.