Saturday, March 16, 2013

What's to celebrate on March 17 other than the Feast of St. Patrick?

Short answer: Nothing.

In America, the patron saint of Ireland is celebrated by persons of every race, color, creed, and national origin. (This is particularly so here in Chicago, where The Blog of Days has its World Headquarters. The special popularity of the Feast may have something to do with the many Irish who settled here -- but it may also have something to do with the fact that our primary elections are usually held around March 17.)

But the great parade in downtown Chicago takes place today -- and by tomorrow there may be some that are St. Patricked out.

Our crack research staff offers, then, these alternatives: Sunday will be Submarine Day, commemorating the first successful submerged run of a submarine on St. Patrick's Day in 1898. The timing was perhaps not coincidental. The submarine was then known as the Holland VI and her inventor, John Holland, was an Irish-American, born in County Clare, who emigrated to the United States in 1873.

The USS Holland
That same boat would be purchased by the U.S. Navy and recommissioned as the USS Holland (SS-1).

Usual Suspect says that Sunday will also be Rubber Band Day, commemorating its invention in 1845. We did not ask our crack research staff to investigate this claim; we felt we'd pressed our luck getting them to sort out the conflicting information on Submarine Day.

Sunday is also the Fifth Day of Lent and -- if you're looking for a Saint to celebrate other than Patrick -- our new Usual Suspect says that it is also the Feast of Joseph of Arimathea. Mark suggests that Joseph may have been a dissenting member of the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus; in the Gospel of John, Joseph obtained the release of Jesus's body from Pilate and donated his own his own tomb for Jesus's burial. According to legend, Joseph brought the Holy Grail to Britain.

No comments: