In my readings of the past, especially of the Celtic peoples, a truism was that Christianity sought to preempt ancient holidays and places. Notre Dame in Paris was built on the site of a Druidic holy place, All Saints Eve and Day took over Samhain, Easter on Beltane, Christmas on the winter solstice. I think of such cultural change on St Patrick’s day even more since I asked a good Irishman why they drink to celebrate someone probably opposed to such revelry.
He answered that St Patrick came and replaced a priestly class that worked along side the people, adding to the community resources, who supported centuries of agricultural practices, cultural transmission, respect for women, maintained connection to the natural world, etc. with a priestly class that took resources to build huge churches and feed themselves who did little to help out, relegated women to property and breeding, colluded with the English in subjugating the citizens, enacted religious strictures in secular law, forbid and made criminal divorce and remarriage, made unmarried women give up their children in shame, and preserved for years the ability of priests to molest children and that maybe that was why the Irish drank on St. Paddy’s day. Could be and no wonder they say change is hard.