Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick Day History And Trivia

Today is St. Patrick's day, you know the luck of the Irish, the four leaf clover and all that jazz. And I am still looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and I thought I saw a leprechaun once. But, he was quick, and ran away, probably to the end of the rainbow to retrieve his gold.

Since it is St. Patrick's day, I thought a short history of the holiday was in order, and how leprechauns, luck, and such came into the picture. History is so fascinating on how it evolves from one thing to something else.

St. Patrick was born in Britain, near the end of the fourth century of wealthy parents. His birth given name was Maewyn Succat. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland, and while in slavery, he became extremely religious, yet, after six years of slavery, he did manage to escape to France, and became a priest (later a bishop) and changed his name to Patrick.

St. Patrick as a Priest and Missionary set a goal of converting the people of Ireland to Christianity. He is noted for establishing the Catholic Church throughout the Emerald Isle, traveling throughout the country and preached and taught Christianity, and opened schools and monasteries. Some believe that he convinced many of the Irish to convert to Christianity by using a three-leafed clover or Shamrock as a symbol for the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), yet this has not been proven. Many also believe that if a Shamrock is found with four clovers, that it represents "God's" Grace" and considered a rarity, or omen for good luck. According to legend, the leaves of a four-leaf clover represent hope faith, love, and luck.

Folklore stories say St. Patrick beat on a drum and drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes and serpents are a pagan symbol representing evil and it is thought that St. Patrick was responsible for driving paganism out of Ireland. Some Irish people swear that there in not a snake in Ireland. St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D, which is the day we celebrate St. Patrick's day.

Green was not the actual or original color associated with St. Patrick's Day that we are familiar with. Blue was the original color and can still be seen on ancient Irish Flags. The color green was adopted by Ireland in the 19th Century as green is representative of spring, fertility, life, as well as the shamrock. Ireland is also nicknamed the "Emerald Isle", due to all the rain and mist they receive which keeps the land green and fertile. The phrase of "wearing of the green" on St. Patrick's day is given due to fact that the people wore green Shamrocks on their lapels to protect them from evil spirits and to watch over their souls.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade actually took place in the United States. Irish soldiers in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762.

Leprechauns have nothing to do with the original history St. Patrick's day, but became a symbol of St. Patrick's day from a Walt Disney film called "Darby O'Gill And The Little People", which was about a cantankerous little man of Irish folklore, and somehow evolved into a recognized symbol of Irish and St. Patrick's day.

Well, just a short history, and all this can be found on the Internet. I did not touch on cabbage, and other foods, the Blarney Stones, and so much more surrounding this holiday, but if interested, you know how to use a search engine.

"May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand"

Traditional Irish Blessing

Your Luck Quotient: 69%

You have a high luck quotient.
More often than not, you've felt very lucky in your life.
You may be randomly lucky, but it's probably more than that.
Optimistic and open minded, you take advantage of all the luck that comes your way.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the snakes were tattoos that the Druids had on their arms. Snakes didn't start out as being evil, but as time went on, many of the Pagan practices were looked upon as evil. St. Patrick forced all the Druids to either convert (they were still killed, but in a more merciful way), or they would die a horrible death. And for the record the Blarney Stone is a disgusting little black smudge on the wall of Blarney Castle, and you have to hang upside down to kiss it (don't forget to bring the Lysol!)

    Blessed be.