By Samantha Paine
St. Patrick’s Day—known worldwide for its Irish origins and liquor-soaked celebrations—seems to be a holiday adopted by every student on a college campus, regardless of their actual heritage.
While this may be flattering to the country of Ireland, college students are definitely not celebrating in the traditional corned-beef-and-cabbage way. Rather, they seem to be skipping out on culture and tradition and heading straight for the bars.
Green beer, shots of whiskey and backyard brouhahas are sure to be found anywhere you see young adults gathered in green.
However, these people don’t even hold their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on the same date as the actual holiday, opting instead to devote the nearest weekend to their drunken escapades. In fact, they even go as far as to rename it, adding in the name of their respective colleges to the already shortened “St. Patty’s Day.” KU has coined its own “Kutzpatty’s Day.”
As quickly as a lightweight gets tipsy, these college carousers are diminishing tradition to shamrock shakes, a bright color and bar binges that could drink even the Irish under a table. This is both a danger for the cultural origins of Saint Patrick, the bishop who converted Irish pagans to Christianity, and for the overzealous participants looking to make a keg-stand their claim to fame.
Young people are more at risk than anyone at this time of year, as binge drinking has been linked to damage to the brain, which is still not fully developed until a person’s mid-20s.
According to brightwaterlanding.com, a site attempting to encourage a more sober St. Patrick’s Day, “Binge drinking on college campuses is dangerous and causes up to 1,800 deaths, 690,000 assaults and 599,000 injuries every year.”
Along with injury to the individual participating in the festivities, DUI rates and related incidents increase during the holiday, making driving less safe than it already is. According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports, in the four years from 2012-16, St. Patrick’s Day related incidents resulted in 182 crashes and six fatalities in the state. Imagine the mssive impact worldwide.
Societal pressures already push underage youths to drink, and the draw of a weekend
devoted to exorbitant amounts of drinking is a danger to those easily molded by these pressures. It is not safe to perpetuate the ideas surrounding this culture.
Colorful beer and the party atmosphere is something no one should have to give up, as it is a celebration making an excuse to relax and enjoy oneself. However, I encourage those of Irish descent to actually learn the culture surrounding the holiday, and not just use it as an excuse to get wasted. As for the rest, it still should not be used as an excuse to get wasted.
A few beers and some friends can make a night memorable. Driving drunk or landing in the hospital will still be memorable, but in a way no one particularly wants.