Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Photo: LA Times

You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Heck, even the Obamas show a little holiday spirit by dying the White House fountain green (then again, the Obamas might be Irish [vid]). Here are a few ways to celebrate America’s favorite Irish holiday:

Have a pint. It’s no surprise that the country that gave us Guinness also gave us one of the most alcohol-related celebrations after Marti Grais. There are plenty of Irish beers to choose from: the aforementioned Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp (both owned by Guinness), Murphy’s or Beamish Irish Stouts and a bunch of Irish red ales. Not a fan of reds or stouts? While you have my scorn, you can also have a pint of green lager, specially produced annually by the big domestic companies such as Miller and Budwiser. If you are lucky enough to be in Kentucky, Alltech makes a few green batches of their tasty amber Kentucky Ale.

Watch hurling [vid]. I’m not talking about what might follow the first activity. Hurling is a fast-paced sport with dangerous looking sticks and a small ball that resembles a baseball with inside-out seams. The All-Ireland championship takes place every March 17th, this year won by the Ballyhale Shamrocks of County Kilkenny.
Dye some body of water green. Many cities celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by dying their river or canal system green with organic food coloring. Chicago’s tradition actually started as a way to check the sewer system, but now is a famous annual event.
Pinch people (and wear green). For some reason, Americans enjoy tormenting people who don’t conform to traditional dress, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. Though I wouldn’t recommend pinching random strangers who aren’t displaying green, this activity can be fun. Caution! Be wary of who you pinch: if your friend turns out to be wearing green socks, he can pinch you back.
Plant peas. Because you can finally see the ground by the middle of March, St. Patrick’s day is a good time to plant cool-weather seeds such as peas.
Fill out your bracket. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament starts tomorrow. Because it’s St. Patrick’s day, why not pick Notre Dame to make the Sweet 16? Go Irish!
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