Hoboken: Do you even know when the real St. Patrick’s Day is?

St. Patrick's Day over commercializedI’ve been thinking about this recently – how most holidays get “bastardized” for whatever reason. Like the real St. Patrick’s Day.

Every year – there is really only ONE St. Patrick’s Day. Period. That’s March 17th – regardless of what day it falls on.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC is always on the 17th too, no matter what with the exception of when it falls on a Sunday (like this year).

Some years are better than others, depending on what day of the week it falls on (and the weather of course). A few times a decade you get it on a Friday or a Saturday. Maybe that’s what used to keep people in check from “over-doing it” every year in a row because of that cyclical change.

But at what point in time will the “capitalization” of these holidays just stop, and things can go back to simpler times?

Take Hoboken for instance – it is the 13th of March – and including today’s Hoboken Irish Festival, there have already been TWO “Irish” events. And it’s not even St. Patrick’s Day yet!

What next, “St. Patrick’s Month of March?”

I personally feel that all this holiday celebrating is diluting the real meaning of these days, and kind of makes them less significant if they’re over-commercialized. Because when you look at it for what it is – it’s not really celebrating a tradition more than it is just business marketing and consumption.

Real St. Patrick's Day in Hoboken NJ march 17th

Resent the commercialization of holidays like St. Patrick’s Day?

Interestingly – this trend of “commercializing” holidays is nothing new. Here is a letter than was published in a newspaper nearly 80 years ago:

St. Patrick's Day Nice and Hammered“At this time of the year, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, certain manufacturers, jobbers, wholesalers, and retailers seem to enter into a conspiracy to place on the market articles supposed to be particularly and strikingly appropriate to the Irish festival and which instead disgust, not merely people with Irish blood in their veins, but everyone with a normal sense of decency.

St. Patrick’s Day the world over is a special time of rejoicing. It is an occasion when all who are Irish are proud of the fact, coming as it does with the approach of spring with the promise of new home and new life in the air with the opening of the buds on the trees and the new green spears in the grass, it is an occasion for gladness and joy.

Some persons and firs dress up their windows with offensive caricatures of human beings and label all of these Irish and print St. Patrick’s Day in large vulgar letters all over them.

If these people want Irish emblems, if they want Irish trade, if they are sincere in their desire to honor a day which is honored the world over, they would give us reproductions of the typically Irish Round Tower, or the Tara Brooch, the Cross of Cong, the Irish Wolf Hound. These things are Irish, and they are beautiful.

There are St. Patrick’s Day cards which come to this country from Ireland, illuminated with the scroll work from the Book of Kells, the Book of Darrow and other famous and immortal manuscripts which bear living and eternal witness to the art and genius of the Gael. They come with Irish greetings in Ireland’s own language, with scenes of Irish hills and glens, with verses that breathe the soul of Ireland, and the Irish cards and Irish souvenirs would not compete with those produced in this country, while other importations are day by day putting Americans on the relief rolls.

- Miss Sarah McFadden – March 15, 1935 – Pittsburgh, PA

Way to go, Sarah! If you only saw it today… wow, you’d really be throwing a fit. And you were spot on with the “imports” of American jobs too. China and India really did a number on us!

But in the end – I guess if this commercialization can perhaps help some local small business like United Decorating at 421 Washington St., perhaps there is a small silver lining to it all?

United decorations st. patricks day Hoboken NJ