Is it just me, or does anyone else think New Year’s Day should be celebrated on the first day of spring? I mean, it’s like the world has been given permission to wake up and get down to business. Monday, the vernal equinox comes knocking on our astronomical door at 3:24 p.m., and being the first full day of spring, there ought to be some sort of celebration.

Over in England, all the druid and pagan types gather at Stonehenge and oo-and-ah at the sun rising over the big rocks, and in Mexico when the sun hits the Chichen Itza pyramid, it looks like a huge snake is slithering down the steps. Mayans called it “the return of the Sun serpent.”

Not to be left out, Chelsea Lyons at the Socorro Public Library presided over Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, last week, where everybody threw colored powder all over each other with glee and wild abandon. With the wind picking up these days, it’s a wonder the entire town wasn’t multi-colored.

We survived the Ides of March and looking at the blessed end of winter – at least on the calendar – and I have to admit I feel like I’ve single-handedly been keeping the coffee business in the black (no pun intended) this week. This whole starting work an hour earlier thing is…yawn…never pretty, and a bad hair day is my usual look.

I am, however, looking forward to sipping a pint of green Guinness with some green food, and I’m not talking about that unidentifiable green moldy thing in the fridge.

No, the “wearin’ o’ the green” is coming up tomorrow; St. Patrick’s Day, when a lot of folks lay claim to Irish ancestry and go around pinching people who don’t wear green. Well, not everybody.

On my mother’s side, her McCafferty ancestors who immigrated from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland may have preferred to wear orange instead on Saint Paddy’s Day. From what I’ve been told, the wearing of green traditionally applies to Irish Catholics, as opposed to the “wearin’ o’ the orange” which applies to Irish Protestants, the minority religion on the whole Emerald Isle, and for the most part in Northern Ireland. I’m not sure how relevant it is today since the days of William of Orange are long gone, but the color orange is, in fact, one-third of the Irish flag.

I don’t know if St. Patrick himself had a green or orange coordinated outfit, but I doubt it since it was the 400s when Christians were simply…well, Christians. Anyhow, Saint Patrick’s Day, I like to think, is for the masses, and people of all colors and creeds should take part in the festivities.

I guess that means don’t pinch if someone is wearing orange. And don’t punch anybody either. Pinching is a custom that I thought would fade away after fifth grade, but apparently, a good number of grown-up people still get a kick out of it. Legend has it that if you wear green you can’t be seen by fairies and leprechauns, so if you’re not wearing green, people have the responsibility of pinching you to remind you to be on the lookout, lest a leprechaun sneaks up on you and steals your gold.

Of course, that whole pinching thing could backfire on you, and you could wind up in a lawsuit, or worse yet, in jail for assault. Better yet, wear a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” pin, put on a goofy green plastic derby and dance a jig. If you don’t jig, clogging might suffice, especially to music from the Irish band The Chieftains, The Irish Rovers, or Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. They’ll get your toe to tappin’ and keep your Irish eyes smilin’.

To be fair, these days the more familiar artists from Ireland would be U2 and Van Morrison, followed by The Cranberries, Sinead O’Connor, and maybe The Pogues, whose song “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” was inspired by the aforementioned Protestant reformation in the 1640s.

If you’re in the movie-watching mood, Darby O’Gill and the Little People with Sean Connery is apropos for St. Patrick’s Day. Also, The Quiet Man starring John Wayne or maybe the comedy Waking Ned Devine, but you have to be in a particular frame of mind (i.e. stoic) to watch The Banshees of Inisherin, nominated for a whole bucketful of Oscars.

And since tomorrow is also National Irish Food Day, the first thing that pops into my head is the green o’ the chile. While having nothing whatsoever to do with Ireland, I figure it might spice up my roast beef and cabbage.

Besides, as far as I know, there’s no orange chile on the menu.