St. Patrick’s Day rescheduled without notice

I’m not sure where they posted this for the rest of the world to see, but it sure as hell wasn’t a) on any of the three calendars I consult daily to remember where I’m supposed to be at any given hour, or b) on the back of the box of my Irish-themed breakfast cereal:

Dublin, Jul 19, 2007 / 10:42 am (CNA).- Religions celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day will come two days early in Ireland next year to avoid a conflict with Holy Week.

Full story, courtesy of the Catholic News Agency.

My favorite part is this detailed account of how they decided where to move it:

Church authorities reportedly spent weeks debating where to move the feast day because March 17, 2008, falls on the second day of Holy Week next year.

The liturgical norms would require the feast day to be moved to the earliest available date after Easter, which would be April 1. But church officials said the Vatican approved the March 15 date in order to minimize conflict with the scheduled civic events.

Which raises a bunch of questions.

First, why? Why go against convention and move it back 2 days instead of forward 2 weeks? The obvious reason is that moving it to April 1st would conflict with April Fools Day, thusly landing them in the same boat they’re trying to bail their way out of. However, I suspect their reasons were somewhat more devious. Like July 4th, May 5th, and the entire month of Oktober, St. Patrick’s Day has fallen on hard times, and is known primarily as an occasion for massive alcohol consumption. Perhaps learning a lesson in strategery from the chess pieces after which they were named, these cagey bishops moved the holiday back in an attempt to hide it from the great drunken masses.

Second, what, did it sneak up on you? The Aztecs planned solar eclipses years in advance using rocks with little holes cut in them. But the Greater Catholic Holiday Planning Subcommittee couldn’t figure out a game plan in time enough to let everyone know?  A tip for the next time this little contingency next comes up (that’ll be in 2060, by the way): let Google know ahead of time. They put a lot of effort into those little holiday banner graphics, and pulling the rug out from under them like that isn’t nice, and karma has a way of resolving these things.

And third, is this carte blanche for the rest of us to reschedule holidays? We’ve been doing it for years with Easter, Thanksgiving, and Memorial and Labor Days. As long as we’re adding St. Patrick’s Day to the list, I do hereby decree that my birthday shall henceforth be observed on the first Friday following the first Saturday in March. In addition, I decree that Cinco de Mayo shall also be observed on that day, such that margaritas will be available at Happy Hour prices, and that the Happy Hour buffet shall be stocked with buffalo wings, throughout the course of the festivities, which shall extend until midnight of the following Tuesday. Further, all other people’s birthdays will be moved to the closest Wednesday, providing me with an out, should I not be able to or not feel like attending their party.

Any holiday centering of the exchange of greeting cards is hereby cancelled. Except for Mother’s Day, because cancelling Mother’s Day seems like a sure way to end up in the circle of Hell where they send you to bed without any supper, for eternity. And moving forward, all remaining holdiays will be observed by either exchanging presents or handing out candy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone.

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