We tackle the tough issue on whether it’s ok to call St. Patrick’s Day, St. “Paddy’s” Day. It’s not, but Reidy and Twitter sensation @krissibex square off in this Point/Counter Point which can only be described as seasonal “mick on mick” crime.
Why I Say Paddy Not Patty
When March rolls around each year, I take it upon myself to become even more of a braggart about my heritage. You guessed it: I’m Irish and this is my month to kick back and tolerate every other race celebrating and mocking my culture in a dazzling display of emerald wearing, two-fisted, boozing shame. Some are offended by what St Patrick’s Day has come to stand for. And it’s true that a day of binge drinking isn’t entirely what one thinks of when celebrating the passing date of the patron saint supposedly famous for chasing the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea. But as the day was originally meant to be a Irish feast in his honor, it’s not hard to see how that very same celebration manifested into a 2-for-1, Irish whiskey soaked, American holiday honored by the masses. My stance is to embrace it and enjoy it.
The reason behind me being “Pro-Paddy,” is that thanks to my Grandfather and my former marriage to an actual born and bred Dublin boy, I can spout a few Gaelic words and phrases like a trained parrot. This small amount of Gaelic knowledge mixed with my Irish blood and a few trips to both north and south Ireland tells me that the Irish/Gaelic name for Patrick was Pádraig. Thus the use of the “D’s” instead of “T’s” when shortening the name for the holiday.
For everyone that believes they’re correct in shortening St Patrick’s Day to “St Patty’s Day” needs to understand that by using the word “Patty,” you’re using the shortened female version, which refers to Patricia, and not to Patrick. Going about bellowing “Happy St. Patty’s Day” would exhibit your desire to raise your glass to the sainthood of a certain peppermint-surnamed, Birkenstock-wearing female member of the Peanuts Gang. Therefore, if you must shorten, you have to go back to the Irish - aka Gaelic roots of Padraig - and correctly wish the drunk comrade next to you a “Happy St. Paddy’s Day.”
My family was always firm on never changing the pronunciation of our Irish last name to the Americanized version. Anyone who has met my family can tell you the worst thing you can do is pronounce their last name as “Doh-err-tea”. And as any good Bugs Bunny cartoon or Martin Scorsese film can tell you, many Irish immigrants became police officers and it’s not surprising that a popular (though somewhat derogatory) term for a police van became a “Paddy Wagon”.
And for my final, yet, childish point: Double D’s are better than no Double D’s. Am I right, gentlemen?
To conclude my argument in support of “Pro-Paddy”, I’d like to remind you all that I manage to avoid portraying myself as Asian and taking part in the magical fireworks display that is Chinese New Year. Nor do I cruise Federal Blvd with the Mexican flag on my car for Cinco de Mayo, so if you’re not at least a little Irish ... wear your green in support, buy a TRUE Irish person a drink that day and call it St Patrick’s Day just to be safe. Leave the “Paddy”-ing to us. Aww, grand sure!
Why I say Patty not Paddy
My confused and possibly drunk colleague above makes some good points about calling St. Patrick’s Day “St. Paddy’s Day” but I really expected better from the world renowned @Krissibex who prides herself on her Irish-American ancestry. But if she insists on making this very rookie mistake when referring to the Irish inspired holiday as “Paddy’s” day, I will take great pains in instructing her why she’s wrong.
Sure, you can make an argument for it being technically correct in Gaelic, but “paddy” is a slang word for an Irish person and it can take on a negative connotation in certain situations. I was paid a high compliment when I was in Ireland when someone said I was a “real paddy.” Because coming from someone who’s Irish, it can be a compliment - much like African Americans calling someone of their same heritage a “for real ass nigga.” But just like in that instance, anyone else using the word “paddy”, it becomes a derogatory designation. An insult if you will.
“Paddys” were a drunken nuisance in our nation’s early history which spawned the term “Paddy Wagon” - a police truck loaded with drunk Irish, possibly kin of my colleague from above. When they name a vehicle after its use in rounding up your drunken, stereotypical forbearers, can you possibly see why a real Irish person might take offense when you mistakenly name a holiday after it?
Ask any Irish person living in America and they'll scoff at the notion of St. “Paddy's” Day. They know the difference and are offended that we’d make the mix up. So when you see “St. Paddy’s Day” written out, assume that person has never been to Ireland and doesn’t realize it’s an insult. That’s why I’m shocked my misinformed cohort has claimed to have been to the Emerald Isle and still uses “paddy”. She may have been in Boston and imagined it was Dublin.
St. Patrick’s Day is a mostly American holiday that the Irish in Ireland have slowly come to embrace. But it’s understood that it’s our holiday and most real Irish conventions associated with it – save for bagpipes and step dancers - are thrown out the window. If your goal is to act like a lunatic in mid March, you’ll have plenty of company. But if you want the actual Irish to call you a “real Paddy,” then call it by its proper name: St. Patrick’s Day. And failing that, call it Patty not Paddy.