Photo: Jasmaine Matthews | freeimages.com
St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17, to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The day was made an official Christian Feast Day in the early 17th century and is celebrated by many church bodies to commemorate Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
More notably to most, the day celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. The festivities for most places typically involve public parades, festivals, the wearing of green, shamrocks and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.
In fact WalletHub, a personal finance company, said St. Patrick’s Day is the fourth most popular drinking day of the year, outdone only by New Year's Eve, Christmas day and the Fourth of July.
It is projected that approximately 56 percent of Americans will take part in the celebrations on March 17, and the world as a whole will consume about 13 million pints of Guinness beer. Based on the data they collected, about three-quarters of fatal St. Patrick's Day crashes involve someone who is inebriated at two times the legal limit.
With these facts looming in the background, how do we stay safe on Saint Patrick’s Day and still have a good time?
For those that are under 21, there are many different parades and other festivities around this day that you can attend without consuming alcohol. You can still wear your green and be festive with everyone else! If you're still feeling down about not drinking with your friends, whip up one of these green mocktails that definitely won't leave you feeling bad the next day.
Also, a large part of the Irish tradition involves tasty dishes of corned beef and cabbage. This year the celebration falls on a Lenten Friday which may seem problematic for those who observe Lent. However, priests are said to be giving their congregations a pass to eat meat on this day. Corned beef + cabbage + shamrock shake = deliciousness.
For those who are 21+, remember to drink responsibly and know your limit. There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a green beer or two! It’s when you have four or five drinks in one sitting - which is considered binge drinking for women and men, respectively - that you may be at risk of harming yourself or others.
Be smart and always make a decision about how you will get home BEFORE you go out for the night. Whether it’s calling a Lyft or using a designated driver, make sure you have a plan.
Another way to keep yourself safe is to surround yourself with people that you know and can trust. Never leave your drink unattended and know how much alcohol you are consuming. Many mixed drinks contain more than just a single serving, so be sure to take that into account when drinking.
Celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day does not have to be plagued with danger and doom. Remembering some of the safe strategies mentioned above can help make your celebration one that is fun and safe for everyone involved. Here’s to a great St. Patrick’s Day 2017!