What are religious festivals for? Most people seem to regard them as a good opportunity for a party or a parade - and many of them have completely lost their religious meaning. I'm not just talking about Christmas and Easter, but other annual Christian events such as Mardi Gras and Halloween.
I'm currently in America for a few days, and I caught a TV discussion on St Patrick's Day. Apparently some people have been marching under gay pride banners, and this is making other people cross. The parade is to honour a saint, so why do they have to bring their sexual orientation into it. It may be okay for Halloween (this idiot continued), but it's inappropriate (his word) for a Saint's Day.
(According to Wikipedia, Halloween was established as a Christian festival by Pope Gregory III in the eighth century.)
In the old days, the real purpose of St Patrick's Day was to raise funds for the IRA. I don't know what it is today, but it seems to have more to do with Irishness (or pseudo-Irishness) than with mediaeval Christianity. In any case, most people seem to think St Patrick's main achievement was something to do with snakes.
Does St Valentine's Day count as a religious festival as well?
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