We just finished arguably the biggest booze and food fest of the year on Fat Tuesday and the next morning swore off the things many of us enjoy the most, food and alcohol. And now checking the calendar the next big boozy holiday is already coming down the pike.

Now staring us in the face is St. Patrick's Day on March 17th, which happily for local bar and nightclub owners conveniently falls on a Friday this year.

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First to allay your guilt, Christians are allowed to drink on St. Patrick's Day no matter what you swore off for lent.  But while you're drinking to the man that 'drove all the snakes out of Ireland' recall that story is only a myth.  There aren't any snakes in Ireland and never were, most likely due to the fact that the waters around the emerald isle are too cold for snakes to have ever migrated there to begin with.  So, as a snake hater I'll drink to that.

More accurately, St Patrick (a fifth century Brit) is celebrated not for what he drove out of Ireland, but what he brought into Ireland: Christianity. Legend has it that he used the three-leaf clovers to demonstrate the Holy Trinity to the Irish people. And that also explains why people took up wearing clovers to display their Irish-Christian pride, and later green clothing on the day, green beer, body paint, green rivers and so on.

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Perhaps the way the 'drove all the snakes out of Ireland' legend took root is that many people consider serpents to be a symbol for the devil or evil. Thus by bringing Christianity to the unwashed emerald islanders, St Patrick drove the worst snake of all, the Devil, out of town.  Make Sense?

A few other myths associated with St Patrick are: he created a new river from the earth, the waters of which could cure the blind; he produced fire from ice (ever seen The Edge?); he raised his nurse from the dead; expelled a devil from a heifer and changed water into honey...and all that as an infant!

St Patrick's Day celebrations started in the US around the 1840's with the influx of Irish immigrants to the country during the first Irish potato famine, and naturally were centered in the New York City area.

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Why do we celebrate on March 17th? It's the anniversary of the Saint's death.

So, that's why we drink on St Paddy's Day, to celebrate Christianity coming to Ireland and whatever you swore off for Lent, go ahead have a drink. While a lot of people take St Patrick's Day as an excuse for a beer barrel binge, don't forget to lift a pint to the dear old Saint himself.  And make plans to get home safely, don't ever drink and drive or you just may see dear old St. Paddy a little sooner than you want.