Deb's St. Patrick's Day Site
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The Wearin' Of The Green
"O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's goin' round?
The Birth of Saint Patrick
by Samuel Lover
b. Dublin Ireland 1797 - d. 1868
On the eighth day of March it was, some people say,
That Saint Pathrick at midnight he first saw the day;
While others declare 'twas the ninth he was born,
And 'twas all a mistake between midnight and morn;
For mistakes will occur in a hurry and shock,
And some blamed the babby - and some blamed the clock -
'Till with all their cross questions sure no one could know,
If the child was too fast - or the clock was too slow.
Now the first faction fight in owld Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of Saint Pathrick's birthday,
Some fought for the eighth - for the ninth more would die,
And who wouldn't see right, sure they blacken'd his eye!
At last, both the factions so positive grew,
That each kept a birthday, so Pat then had two,
'Till Father Mulcahy, who show'd them their sins,
Said "No one could have two birthdays, but a twins."
Says he, "Boys, don't be fightin' for eight or for nine,
don't be always dividin' - but sometimes combine;
Combine eight with nine, and seventeen is the mark,
So let that be his birthday." - "Amen," says the clerk.
"If he wasn't a twins, sure our hist'ry will show
That, at least, he's worth any two saints that we know!"
Then they all got blind dhrunk - which complated their bliss,
And we keep up the practice from that day to this.
Origins of St. Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks, and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. The Irish are descendants of the ancient Celts, but the Vikings, Normans, and English contributed to the ethnic nature of the people. Centuries of English rule largely eliminated the use of the ancient Gaelic, or Irish, language. Most Irish are either Catholics or Protestants (Anglicans, members of the Church of England).
So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as Irish immigrated around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses, close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.
In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring, and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!
St. Patrick's Day -History and Myths
by Thomas R. McKinnis (March 11, 1997)
Saint Patrick's Day (March 17th), is an Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400's).
Saint Patrick was not actually Irish. Historical sources report that he was born around 373 A.D. in either Scotland (near the town of Dumbarton) or in Roman Britain (the Romans left Britain in 410 A.D.).
His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat (he took on Patrick, or Patricus, after he became a priest). He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland (I am not making this up). During his 6-year captivity (he worked as a shepherd), he began to have religious visions, and found strength in his faith. He finally escaped (after voices in one of his visions told him where he could find a getaway ship) and went to France, where he became a priest (and later a bishop).
When he was about 60 years old, St. Patrick travelled to Ireland to spread the Christian word. It's said that Patrick had an unusually winning personality, and that helped him win converts. He used the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (father, son, holy spirit).
Legend has it that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland -- that they all went into the sea and drowned. Poor snakes. I don't know why he would want to do this, except that the snake was a revered pagan symbol, and perhaps this was a figurative tale alluding to the fact that he drove paganism out of Ireland.
Dad, why do they make such a production of St. Patrick's Day
When the Irish are really Johnny Come Latelys to the USA?
They didn't arrive until about eighteen forty-eight,
After Eire's potato crop failed and they had to emigrate.
They had no choice, it was leave home or die of starvation,
So they came in steerage by the thousands to our nation.
Son, obviously what your history books fail to say,
Is, the Irish have been around forever and a day.
When Columbus first landed on the shores of our land,
Patrick McGuire was the first to make footsteps on the sand.
And when you scan the roster of the Santa Maria's crew,
You find many, many more Gaelic names on that list too.
Half of the soldiers in the Colonial Army were born in Ireland,
Many Murphys, 230 O'Briens, 872 Kellys, were in Washington's command.
Eleven of his Generals had fighting Irish blood in their veins,
John Barry, our first Commodore controlled the sea lanes.
Washington himself belonged to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick,
He knew the British and the Hessians, The Irish Brigade would lick.
Now, run your eye down the signers of the Declaration of Independence,
Thornton, Wilson, Taylor and Smith were born Irish, thanks to Providence.
McKean, Read and Rutledge were of pure Gaelic parentage,
Whipple and Hancock had Irish mothers, Lynch and Carroll, Celtic lineage.
The first Continental Congress addressed Ireland in the year 1775,
To say that thanks to the help of the Gaels, America would survive.
An ancient leprechaun told me one soft summer day in Kildare,
That Paul Revere never would have made it without his fine mare.
She was an Irish hunter from Lismore by the.name of Shamrock,
With great stamina and grand conformation from withers to fetlock
. She hated tyranny, the Crown and the tangled webs they spun,
So she ran like a whistling wind from River Charles to Lexington.
So, Son, I see nothing wrong in a big celebration on March seventeen,
With all our nationalities, waving and wearing the green.
Let McNamara lead his band, let Clancy lower the boom,
Let the thunder of marching feet wake Cromwell in his tomb.
For if it wasn't for the help of the clans from the Irish Sea,
America might not be the home of the brave and the land of the free.
"Thoughts on St. Patrick's Day"
The history of the current St.Patrick's day meal has a history unto itself and should not be compared with any of the other myths of Ireland. When the sailing ships of the mid 1800s would leave the docks in New York, they would take their meats to sea with them, in barrels filled with brine to preserve the meat. After a trip to sea, they would return to port, and if there was any meats left over, the ships-cook would make an extra buck by selling the leftover meat to the poor women on the dock at a penny a pound.
The Irish mothers who bought this meat, would boil it, to rid it of the brine. After each boiling, the water would be thrown out until the meat was edible. After a time, some clever Lady found that the meat became more paletable, if cabbage was cooked with it in the same pot, after a second boiling. It was a means of putting a meal on the table for one's family. It should be held up with pride and esteem, for those who started in this country on an empty stomach.I say to you all, if this sort of thing has no Irish tradition, than there is no Santa Claus.
Happy St. Patrick's Day
Arnold W. Roepken in Garden City, NY
"The Essence of Being Irish"
By Brenden Kennelly
Ireland literally gets under your skin, steals into your dreaming mind, taking possession of it like a memory of love or a spontaneous kindness from stranger or friend.
If you asked me to name one factor that makes Ireland the quietly irresistible land it is, I would reply that time has failed to establish its customary tyranny over the lives of many of the people and so they are free to develop their personalities indulge their natural inclination toward talk and animated story-telling while always giving the impression that you, the second party in the leisurely dialogue, are a much more interesting and articulate person than you ever dreamed yourself to be. This is not flattery, this is acute recognition of your human value. Ireland is a place where character and personality are cherished far ahead of theory and abstraction. This generates a special warmth in the social atmosphere which nurtures the heart and stimulates the mind. It also means that the Irish take time to find the right words, the most apt and evocative images, the most precise phrases in which to state their views on every topic under the sun.
Recently an old friend of mine died in Cork. He was one of the most inspiring talkers and story-tellers I've known; and as I traveled over the Kerry and Cork mountains to pay my last respects to him, the people with whom I was traveling spoke nonstop about his stories and wit, his escapades and adventures, his passion for sport and his love of people, his fiery interest in politics, his love of staying up all night and welcoming in the dawn light with stories of old friends and enemies. As I listened, I knew in my heart that one of the greatest Irish qualities is the passionate refusal to commit a dead friend to oblivion; instead, there is this eloquent loving insistence on talking about the strands of his personality, the events of his life, his favorite virtues, vices, stories. Stories, always stories. Fair enough, when you take time to think of it. What's a man or woman in the end, and after the end, but the loving, lively, incisive ways in which we remember and tell our stories about him or her? That's an individual's history. History, his story. It is also the most acute expression of the Irish love of a person's uniqueness. This is true and reassuring value in a world where individuals are increasingly treated as cogs in a machine. In Ireland you are, on the whole, cherished for your uniqueness. After all, that's what you deserve because that's what you are. Unique. There's nobody quite like you; no story quite like your story.
Everywhere you go in Ireland you meet beautiful children. I fondly cherish the thought that they too will grow to be people-lovers, nature-lovers and story-lovers like so many of those it has been my privilege to meet, traveling in this old land that has preserved a startling youthfulness through all its trials and tribulations. Ireland, still resisting the dull tyranny of time, the mechanical dominance of clock, watch and calendar, retains this wonderful blend of a child's sparkling enthusiasm with an old survivor's gritty wisdom as it offers, calmly and almost shyly, its many heart-warming charms to a needy world. The more you get to know this little country, the more fascinating it becomes. It is, in the deepest sense, one of the richest corners of the earth.
St. Patrick's Day in America
Saint Patrick's Day is a basically a time to wear green and party. The first American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. As the saying goes, on this day "everybody is Irish!" Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick's Day parades, the largest held in New York City.
Green is associated with Saint Patrick's Day because it is the color of spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Leprechauns are also associated with this holiday, although I'm not sure why. Leprechauns of legend are actually mean little creatures, with the exception of the Lucky Charms guy. They were probably added later on because capitalists needed something cute to put on greeting cards.
Another St. Patrick's Day Story:
St. Patrick's Day History and Myths
by Thomas R. McKinnis (February 27, 1998)
Saint Patrick's Day (March 17th). St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, has been honored and the anniversary of his death, March 17, 493, has been celebrated in America from very early times. Celebrations outside of those in the church began in Boston with the Charitable Irish Society, founded in 1737. The Friendly sons of St. Patrick, founded in Philadephia in 1780, observed the day and four years later in New York the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of that city took note of the anniversary. The New York society, curiously enough, ws organized by Irish Catholics and Presbyterians and its first president was a Presbyterian.
These societies, as well as similar organizations in other cities, usually celebrate the day by giving a public dinner at which prominent speakers respond to toasts. At a celebration in Boston in the early years of the present century Justice John W. Hammond of the Supreme Judicial Court of the state, in responding to the toast "Massachusetts," said: "You are of Irish ancestry and are proud of it. I am of the strongest Pilgrim ancestry, and am equally proud of it. Neither of us would be worthy of his ancestry if he were not proud of it. It is right, proper and beneficial that each of us should maintain those memories which are peculiar to ourselves. It is right for us to emulate the virtues of our ancestors as it is right to criticise their faults an davoid them if we can ... I clipped from the Boston Herald the other day something said by Archbishop O'Connell (he later was made a Cardinal) who is, I suppose a pretty good authority with most of those assembled here. He urges the election to office of honest men, of square-dealing men, though they be non-Catholics, rather than the election of unworthy Catholics. That is the language of an Irish Catholic speaking as an American citizen. It shows the breadth of mind of the man who spoke it and the sense of political duty under which he labored. And so far as I have the power to represent anybody I send back as the echo of the remark that I prefer a good, honest, square-dealing public official not of my race or creed to anyone, no matter how puritanical his name or religion, who does not posses those qualifications."
St. Patrick, according to the Roman Catholic authorities, was born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, Scotland, in the year 387. His father was Calphurnius, a member of a Roman family of high rank. He held the office of Decurio in Gaul, or Britain. When Patrick was sixteen years old he was captured by Irish marauders and sold as a slave to a chieftain, who was a high priest, in the territory of the present county of Antrim. He remained in servitude for six years, learning meanwhile to speak the Celtic language. When he escaped from his master he fled to the west coast of Ireland where he found a ship ready to sail, was allowed to board, and in a few days landed in Britain. He had decided to devote himself to religious work and made his way to the monastery of St. Martin at Tours, where he studied for a while. He remained on the continent for more than eighteen years preparing himself for his work. He was commended to Pope Celestine and visited Rome. The Pope commissioned him to work in Ireland and probably in the summer of 433 he landed there at the mouth of the Vantry river near Wicklow Head. The Druids resented his arrival but he escaped from them and sought a more friendly territory. But he first went to his old master and paid the price of his freedom and, it is said, converted the man and his family to Christianity. He preached and taught in Ireland for many years, building churches and organizing parishes and performing miracles. He and his companions were taken captive twelve times by the Druids and once he was loaded with chains and condemned to death. He lived until March 17, 493, and was buried, in a shroud made for him by St. Brigid, in the place on which in later years the Cathedral of Down was built.
Many traditions have grown up about the life of St. Patrick. One which is regarded as authentic is that in an effort to explain to the Irish people the mystery of the Trinity he plucked a shamrock and said that the three leaves represented the three persons of the Trinty and that the stem on which they grew represented the godhead and was typical of the unity of three in one. Another tradition relates to the expulsion of snakes from Ireland. Cardinal Moran, who wrote the article on St. Patrick in the Catholic Encyclopedia, does not mention it although he does tell of the besetment of St. Patrick by a crowd of demons in the shape of vultures and the final drowning of the demons in the sea in answer to the prayers of the saint. The story of snakes, however, is interesting. He had banished them all except one old serpent, which refused to leave. St. Patrick, according to the story, made a box and invited the serpent to enter it. The serpent objected on the ground that it was not big enough to hold him but St. Patrick insisted that it was large enough to be comfortable. After a long discussion the serpent finally agreed to enter the box to prove that it was too small. As soon as the serpent was safely inside the saint shut the lid, fastened it and threw it into the sea. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day is the one day that everyone is a little Irish. Every year on March 17 or the preceding Saturday, cities with a large population of Irish Americans have parades. Green is one of the national colors of Ireland and also one of the signs of spring. Green stripes are painted on the streets where the parade will travel. People wear green shirts, ties, hair ribbons and hats.
Just like many other holidays in the United States, St. Patrick's Day has its origins in ancient times. A young boy named Patrick lived in the British Isles, a land that had been invaded and conquered first by the Romans and then by Germanic tribes. Patrick was captured and taken as a slave from the British Isles to what is now Ireland. He lived there for several years herding sheep.
Upon his release, Patrick went in Ireland and became a missionary, travelling from village to village and talking about his faith. Once, several members of a tribe approached Patrick and told him that they found it difficult to understand and believe in the Holy Trinity. Patrick thought a moment, then stooped down and picked one of the plentiful shamrocks growing wild around Ireland. "Here are three leaves," he said, "yet it is one plant. Imagine the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit as each of these leaves. Here they are, yet they are one plant." The tribesmen understood, because Patrick had used a familiar object to explain. From that time on, the shamrock has been a revered symbol of Ireland.
St. Patrick died on March 17 and the Irish people set aside the day to mourn. He became the patron saint of Ireland. Mourning turned to commemorating him and celebrating his life. Americans have inherited this custom. On St. Patrick's Day in the United States, millions of people celebrate whether they are Irish or not!
This is the national flower of Ireland. The word shamrock comes from the Gaelic word which means "trefoil" or "little clover". The shamrock is believed to have the ability to foretell the future: when it is about to rain the leaves turn upwards. The lucky four leafed clover is difficult to find because it is actually a genetic abnormality that causes the fourth leaf. One legend states that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity (a basic principle of the Catholic faith).
The Leprechaun The leprechaun is a tiny elf connected with St. Patrick's Day. The word 'leprechaun' is from a mixture of 'luchorpan' or 'small person' and a word meaning 'one-shoemaker.' As a St. Patrick's Day symbol, the leprechaun is a smiling, merry little elf. However, legend tells us that he is always grumpy, untrustworthy and very tricky. In ancient myths, the leprechaun guards a hidden pot of gold which humans try to find but without success. As one story goes, an Irishman caught a leprechaun, managed to make him reveal which tree his pot of gold was buried under. The Irishman tied a red handkerchief around the trunk of it so he would remember the location when he went away to find a shovel. When he returned, he found that the leprechaun had tied a red handkerchief exactly like his own around every other tree in the forest!
The Blarney Stone The Blarney Stone is an actual stone set into the wall of the Blarney Castle tower. The castle is located in Blarney village. One must climb many stairs, then lie backwards and hold onto some bars to reach the stone. Legend holds that anyone who kisses the stone shall receive the gift of gab (persuasion).
The Claddagh Ring
Legend tells of a man, from Claddagh, who was captured by pirates a week before he was to be married. While he was enslaved, he learned to be a goldsmith. He created a ring for the bride he longed to see again. The heart in the center symbolized their love, the hands holding the heart symbolized their friendship, and the crown represented their loyalty. He did indeed return to his bride, gave her the ring, and married her. Today, tradition follows that if you are given this ring in friendship the heart points outward; if given in love, the heart points inward.
What's good luck on Saint Patrick's Day?:
Finding a four-leaf clover (that's double the good luck it usually is). Wearing green. (School children have started a little tradition of their own -- they pinch classmates who don't wear green on this holiday).
An Irish blessing to take with you today:
May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.
Search Your Irish Roots on St. Patrick's Day