Tomorrow we celebrate the day of drunkenness and debauchery! It is a time to drink and be merry. It is a day that has more pagan ancient origins. It is the day the Romans paid tribute to Liber Pater the god of wine and fertility. The Festival Of Liberalia, is the festival of Liber Pater and his consort Libera. The Romans celebrated Liberalia with sacrifices, processions, ribald and gauche songs, and masks which were hung on trees. How odd that the Oppressive Catholic authority of the time would create a day of drinking and merriment on this very day. (I say that with sarcasm because this was their thing. The church always found ways to warp pagan holidays into more Christian like versions in order to persuade the more staunch pagans in the communities to give in to the church’s way of life. After all it was Roman custom to incorporate older pagan traditions into Roman society. So why wouldn’t the Roman Catholic Church continue this crafty maneuver. )
This feast celebrates the maturation of young boys to manhood. Roman boys, usually at age 14, would remove the bulla praetexta, a hollow charm of gold or leather, which parents placed about the necks of children to ward off evil spirits. At the Liberalia ceremony the young men might place the bulla on an altar (with a lock of hair or the stubble of his first shave placed inside) and dedicate it to the Lares, who were gods of the household and family. Mothers often retrieved the discarded bulla praetexta and kept it out of superstition. If the son ever achieved a public triumph, the mother could display the bulla to ward off any evil that might be wished upon the son by envious people. The young men discarded the toga praetexta, which was probably derived from Etruscan dress and was decorated with a broad purple border and worn with the bulla, by boys and girls. The boys donned the clothing of adulthood, the pure white toga virilis, or "man's gown". The garment identified him as a citizen of Rome, making him an eligible voter.
The celebration on March 17 was meant to honor Liber Pater, an ancient god of fertility and wine (like Bacchus, the Roman version of the Greek god, Dionysus). Liber Pater is also a vegetation god, responsible for protecting seed. Liber, again like Dionysius, had female priests although Liber's priests were older women. Wearing wreaths of ivy, the priestesses made special cakes, or libia, of oil and honey which passing devotees would have them sacrifice on their behalf. Over time this feast evolved and included the goddess Libera, Liber Pater's consort, and the feast divided so that Liber governed the male seed and Libera the female. This ancient Italian ceremony was a "country" or rustic ceremony. The processional featured a large phallus which the devotees carried throughout the countryside to bring the blessing of fertility to the land and the people. The procession and the phallus were meant also to protect the crops from evil. At the end of the procession, a virtuous and respected matron placed a wreath upon the phallus.
Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. The day generally involves public parades and festivals, céilithe, and wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day. St. Patrick's Day falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast--on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. With this little window of opportunity you can see how the festival became associated with a near frantic fast paced consumption of drink and food and merriment. Also the original color associated with the day was blue but morphed to green over time and the custom of wearing and displaying green ribbon and shamrocks caused the holiday to grew more quickly. It is not an official holiday in America but with a large portion of Irish descendants the day is celebrate with the fervor of an official Nationalized holiday.
Little is known of Patrick's early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.
In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianize the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.