Why Do People Drink on St. Patrick’s Day?

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It’s really confusing. This is supposed to be a day dedicated to a guy named “Saint Patrick.” This is supposed to be a day recognizing Christianity coming to Ireland. So why is St. Patrick’s Day a day to get smashed for so many?

St. Patrick seems to have been a very moral and upright person. He is known for evangelizing in Ireland. This wasn’t just your average religious man though. St. Patrick started 300 churches and baptized 120,000 people in about 30 years. While it isn’t clear what religious group he was a part of, he was clearly one who was focus on spiritual things. So what about any of this screams, “let’s get drunk,” to people? Ironically, all of that started because of Catholic traditions.

When the Catholic Church made this a holiday in the 17th century, the day fell smack dab in the middle of Lent. Lent is a six-week period before Easter which the Catholic Church created to encourage people to repent of sins, live morally, eat less, and stay away from alcohol. For some reason, the Catholic Church decided to lift these moral restrictions for one day, St. Patrick’s Day. These lifted restrictions encouraged people to go out to drink and party, which is why this day is now so well known for such things.

Let’s allow Scripture to clear all of this up. First of all, there is nothing in the Bible about “Lent” or a similar period of time of moral restrictions. God’s moral guidelines do not come and go, but are for all people at all times, including St. Patrick’s Day (Acts 3:18-19; 17:30-31; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 2:10). Secondly, there is nothing in Scripture which gives any man the authority to lift these restrictions and allow sin. Not the church, not the Pope, and not even an angel from heaven (Galatians 1:6-9). Lastly, Scripture speaks often about the foolishness and dangers of alcohol, and clearly condemns drunkenness and carousing (Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 4:3; Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-25; Isaiah 5:11-12; etc). Even if our society says it’s fine, God says otherwise.

It’s sad, but St. Patrick’s Day has become just one more excuse for people to drink, party, and engage in sin. It’s great to enjoy some of the fun and innocent traditions of this holiday (e.g. wearing green and pinching those who don’t), but instead of conforming to our world, let’s always do what is good and acceptable before the Lord (Romans 12:2).

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