The Ins and Odds of St. Patrick’s Day

Originally St. Patrick’s Day was a religious feast held in honor of the Irish patron saint, on March 17, the day of his death. In his teens, he was kidnapped near his home, and worked as a slave in Ireland for almost two decades before managing to escape back to England.

After joining the Catholic church, he returned to Ireland to share the gospel. Many legends surround the time St. Patrick spent sharing his faith with the Irish. They are the basis of how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated today.

Celebrations began in Boston in 1737 as a way to honor Irish and Irish-American culture by the colonists. The first time a military unit joined a St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1762. Since that day in New York, military units have made it a  tradition to march each year.

Did The Irish Really Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is only the Irish-American’s because brisket, cabbage, and root vegetables were cheap in the colonies. In Ireland, beef was expensive, so the Irish ate mostly ham and bacon which were prevalent and affordable. Today’s St. Patrick’s Day menus pay homage to both the Irish and the Irish-American’s. Check out these modern recipes.

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Why Green?

Green is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day because St. Patrick used the Shamrock to teach the Irish about the Holy Trinity. The other reason is that Ireland’s known as the Emerald Isle.

Other countries decorate with green. Here in the United States, we go a little crazy with the green. We decorate with it, and do green arts and crafts with our kids. We wear it, we dress up in leprechaun costumes–who are famous for wearing green outfits. We dye as many things green as we can: food, hair, the White House north fountain, the Chicago River, and, of course, beer.

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Oddities about St. Patrick’s Day

While researching St. Patrick’s Day I ran across several very odd things. My thoughts ran from “I had no idea” to “you’ve got to be kidding me?”

1. St. Patrick actually wore blue priest garb not green.

2. Early descriptions of leprechauns were of short non-human male creatures who wore red jackets and tricorn hats.

3. In the myths, there are no female leprechauns.

4. The only Leprechaun colony in the United States lives in Portland, Oregon, in Mill Ends Park, which is officially the world’s smallest park.

5. Each year in Carlingford, Ireland, on a designated day, you can hunt leprechauns. Beginning in 2010 . . .

Hunters will NOT be allowed to hunt in the area of the Wishing well and Slate Rock as this area is now protected under the European Habitats Directive which allows for the protection of flora,fauna, wild animals, and Little People ( Leprechauns) — Youtube notes about the event.

6. The saying “luck of the Irish” doesn’t refer to good luck. Instead, it refers to the seemingly bad luck the Irish people have had over the centuries.

Shamrocks and Four-Leaf-CLovers

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Be sure to take a cab or choose a designated driver if you are going to hoist a Guinness or green beer with your friends. Have fun!

photo credit: 115/365 via photopin (license)
photo credit: 115/365 via photopin (license)

Author: Jillian Pearl

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. As an adult, I moved to Denver, Colorado and continue to live there with my family. Over the years, I've had a variety of jobs, including lifeguard, OTR truck driver, and mechanical drafter. Currently, I am a caregiver for my mom, a blogger, and a contemporary romance author.

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