According to folk lore, everybody wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and that may be true because that is a day that the Irish go all out to celebrate.
Sunday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, celebrates the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick in the fifth century.
This holiday is most popular in the United States, Canada, Australia and Ireland, but is also celebrated throughout the world in such places as Singapore and Russia.
The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was in Boston in 1737. Savannah, Georgia, claims to have had the first parade in 1813 and claims to have dyed their river green at that time. Chicago says they were the first to dye their river green and until this day continues the practice. New York City has the largest annual parade.
Originally the celebration was entirely religious but it has evolved into a more social holiday. The Dublin, Ireland, Tourism Board made a concentrated effort to promote tourism for that holiday period and has been successful in doing so.
Over a million people will be in Dublin this year for four days to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day parades, concerts and other outdoor productions, fireworks, and the drinking of much green beer.
St. Patrick did not have an easy life. He was born a pagan in Roman Britain, and was kidnapped when he was 16 and brought to Ireland as a slave. He managed to escape and is given credit for converting many people to Christianity during his later life. He was arrested and jailed several times but always managed to escape.
There are many myths associated with St. Patrick, most of which are disputed. The story of the Shamrock (clover) is accepted because it is believed he used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost) to those he was converting to the Christian faith.
Most clover will have three leaves but when a four leaf clover is found it is a sign of great luck headed your way. Each of the four leaves represent something — hope, faith, love and luck.
St. Patrick is credited with ridding Ireland of all its snakes but this myth is disputed simply because Ireland never had any snakes.
According to tradition, if you are not wearing something green on St. Patrick’s Day, it is perfectly acceptable that anybody can pinch you. Green clothing of all kind is worn on this day.
Leprechauns, or “little people” are part of the mystery that surrounds St. Patrick’s Day.
A leprechaun is a very small, unfriendly, shoemaker, who repairs the shoes of the fairies. The fairies pay the leprechauns in gold coins which are stored in pots in the forest.
If you go into the forest and be very quiet, you may hear the sound of the shoemaker repairing the shoes. Creep up on him and you may force him to give you his pot of gold, but if you even blink, he will vanish from your sight.
Today, there is a strong push among families to keep tradition alive. St. Patrick’s Day may not have as much as other holidays, but it is important to try to establish some tradition.
Have a typical Irish meal for lunch. Corned beef (or bacon) and cabbage is a good choice. Don’t forget the soda bread.
Any Irish potatoes would fill the bill. Just something that you can do year after year to bring a smile to your face is worthwhile.
The luck of the Irish has been envied for years. The recipe for Irish luck is: find a four leaf clover, wear green, kiss the Blarney Stone, and catch a leprechaun.
Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org