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We have all heard of shamrocks, leprechauns, and green beer. But what exactly are we celebrating each year on the 17th of March? Wikipedia explains that Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day. This has encouraged a tradition of alcohol consumption on this holiday.
Saint Patrick was not actually Irish (gasp!). But he is credited with helping Ireland through his missionary work. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking, and a whole lot of green. It is customary to wear shamrocks and green clothing/accessories. Some believe this is to represent Ireland's nickname The Emerald Isle, some think green makes them invisible to leprechauns, and some simply want to avoid getting pinched. A lot of the traditions are more about fun than history. Research actually shows an interesting explanation of the history of the color green on St. Patrick's Day. Did you know that many accounts state that blue was the original color celebrated on this holiday?
An estimated 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide on March 17th. And since much of that will be consumed at bars and restaurants, people will need to get home after the festivities are over. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives us a very good reminder about the importance of driving sober:
There is so much to celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day—from leaders of Irish heritage and the industry and commitment of Irish immigrants who helped build America to beautiful gifts of art and music and some of the world’s most celebrated literature. So let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the right way—safely. Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
A great way to avoid drunk driving is to plan ahead. Your safe driving plan may include a designated driver, public transportation, a taxi, a ridesharing service, staying sober, or something else other than drinking and driving. There’s no big secret to avoiding a DUI on these alcohol-focused holidays, just don’t drink and drive and you won’t have to worry.
Make your own luck. Drive sober or don’t drive. During the 2014-2018 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 pm on 3/16 to 5:59 am on 3/18), drunk driving crashes claimed the lives of 249 people. It’s unfortunate, but St. Patrick’s Day does see a spike of drunk driving every year. So enjoy the celebrations, but do so safely. And contact us at Smart Start of Alabama if you need help monitoring your alcohol consumption.
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