When I was in college, I bet my girlfriend at the time that the color of her dress was definitely green. She promptly told me in no uncertain terms, as did everyone else, that the dress was teal. Not green.
To that point, I had never been particularly well acquainted with the color green. I’ve never had a proverbial green thumb, nor have I ever tried Dr. Seuss’s green eggs and ham. My favorite football team, the green-wearing New York Jets, lose so often that we fans are more likely to turn a sickly green watching them play than to make anyone green with envy.
But, on that day, at the peak of my green-eptitude, I came to terms with two very important life lessons: 1) never bet against your girlfriend and 2) I had a lot to learn about the color green.
Luckily for me, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the greenest of all holidays: the one and only St. Patrick’s Day. And, this year, I was able to ask 27 people how they embrace their inner green to enjoy that special day.
Here’s what I learned.
For those who said they would brave the streets on St. Patrick’s day, many I spoke to were in favor of an all-out display of green that would make a tree blush. Exemplary clothing choices included green suspenders and knee-high green socks, as a first step.
As a second step, one could complement their green clothes with some spray-painted hair or perhaps some green eye shadow (and don’t forget the glitter!).
And, no matter what, you should never ever ever forget your green whistle, a most crucial element to any St. Patty’s day wardrobe that will allow you to always be heard loud and clear—with that added bonus that you may still have your voice the next day.
In summary, as one experienced individual said to me, on a scale of green between kale and absinthe, you should always strive for the latter.
If you’d rather not go through the bother of trekking to an outside bar crowded with a motley crew of green-wearing people, many people suggested it’s more enjoyable to just stay at home.
But being at home doesn’t mean you have to lose your green spirit. One person, for example, told me a story of how, on St. Patrick’s Day, their parents used to make a mess in their room and scatter gold coins to pretend that leprechauns had been there. And, on one particular holiday, their Mom even went so far as to knit a little, green leprechaun boot.
To Be(er) or Not to Be(er)
To my surprise, there was a rather heated debate on the St. Patrick’s Day green beer. Some were all for it, while others said to adamantly avoid it like the plague. No matter your beer preference, my take on the matter would be to follow the other advice that people gave: drink early, but stay hydrated; have lots of fun, but be safe and responsible.
Fly Eagles Fly
The Philadelphia Eagles just won their first ever SuperBowl. Their team colors are green. You can wager a Philly steak that the Philly fans I spoke to were unabashed in declaring what particular kind of green they would be wearing this St. Patrick’s Day: an Eagles jersey.
I would not be surprised if by March 17th Philadelphia had successfully overturned 1,600 years of tradition and petitioned to have St. Patrick’s Day renamed St. Foles Day in honor of their winning quarterback, Nick Foles.
For some people, the best part about St. Patrick’s day was the chance to explore and celebrate in new places like Boston or London, for instance.
Or, if you’re up to helping make history, you could go to New York and attend the biggest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. The parade in New York is actually the oldest still-running civilian parade in the world, first happening in 1762.
And, if you want to keep it green, it’s hard to beat going to Chicago to check out their spectacular tradition of dyeing the Chicago river green for the day.
Keep it Simple
One of the legends of St. Patrick is that he explained Christianity’s complex holy trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost using the 3 leaves of the shamrock. In other words, St. Patrick kept it simple—and that’s definitely something a lot of people recommended.
Rather than going all out, just wear a green t-shirt, sweater, or jacket—and maybe add some green nail polish or green bead necklaces if you’re feeling ambitious. Feel free to go to a bar and be a part of the experience, but choose a bar right across the street from where you live rather than one far away.
And when you get a bite to eat, without a doubt, make sure it’s the Irish classic of corned beef and cabbage.
A rather large number of people mentioned that money was their favorite green thing to have on St. Patrick’s day. Perhaps this was because they liked to spend money, or simply because they simply liked to have a lot of it.
Well, money is indeed green. And it can buy you many green things, so there’s that. No matter what though, it’s probably best to not lose said wallet full of all those green papers in the midst of your St. Patrick’s Day revelry.
Keeping the green spirit can extend beyond just clothing and green beer. Take a chance and try some green pancakes or green bagels, for example. Or, if you’d prefer not to eat food that resembles an alien life form, you can always stick with the basics. For one person, a basil pesto pasta dish is the way to go.
If you’d prefer to not eat green food that resembles an alien life form and don’t want to cook anything, it’s hard to beat a “dish” of mint oreo cookies.
Most of all, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to be you and try something new. You could find out how to say your name in gaelic or walk your dog in a shamrock bandana. Or you could write on yourself in green pen or marker—maybe even get a fake green tattoo. One person I spoke to gets up really early on St. Patrick’s day and goes to the bar… to watch soccer.
Just do you. And if you need any proof, one person I talked to even met their significant other on St. Patrick’s Day. So be yourself: your best green-wearing, beer drinking, stay-at-home, rowdy, or corned-beef eating self.