With ancestors that had names starting with Mc—-whatever , you don’t have to explain why your skin burns easily in the sun, you have freckles all over, your face turns red when you get angry or embarrassed….and you are first to put on your green for St. Patrick’s Day. If you are an American, those ancestors might have come from Ireland. They might have come from Scotland. On the other hand, they might have lived in Scotland, moved to Ireland, and then ended up in America. We are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!
You should not be insulted if you hear the following quote. It is just the lively Irishman telling you what he knows to be the truth. It is also an old Irish toast.
Here’s to you and here’s to me.
May we never disagree.
But should we start to fight and ‘cuss,
Here’s to me.
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is really more of a Religious Holiday. St. Patrick was an actual person and is the patron saint of Ireland. There are many legends and stories surrounding the life of St. Patrick. We know that he did much to advance Christianity in Ireland. Some believe St Patrick died on March 17, 493 A.D. Thus, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated each year on March 17th.
The shamrock has three leaves that St. Patrick used to represent the Christian trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Universally people believe the four-leaf clover bestows good luck upon the person who finds it. In Ireland, they say these four leaves stand for Hope, Faith, Love and Luck.
St. Patrick’s Day in the United States
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all things Irish. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States took place in 1737 in Boston. There are many parades on St. Patrick’s Day in the United States. Most people wear green. If they do not wear green or choose not to wear green, they might get pinched. People dress like leprechauns in silly green outfits. They wear pins with Irish symbols. Sometimes they wear pins shaped like green shamrocks. Some cities have pub-crawls, with the bars offering green beer. In Chicago, the people dye the Chicago River green.
Leprechauns are part of Irish folklore. According to The Leprechaun; or Fairy Shoemaker by William Allingham, the leprechaun is a fairy that got rich by making shoes and hiding all his money.
This way, that way, So we make a shoe; Getting rich every stitch, Tick-tack-too!” Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks This keen miser-fairy hath, Hidin mountains, woods, and rocks, Ruin and round-tow’r, cave and rath, And where the cormorants build; From times of old Guarded by him; Each of them fill’d Full to the brim With gold!
In other Irish traditions, the Leprechauns are the self-appointed guardians of the Vikings’ gold. The leprechauns are the owners of the shamrock and four-leaf clover gardens. The Leprechauns, shamrock, and four-leaf clover all have magical powers.
Ireland’s Blarney Stone
The Legend of the Blarney Stone
There is a stone there,
That whoever kisses,
Oh, he never misses
To grow eloquent.
‘Tis he may clamber
To a lady’s chamber,
Or become a member
The Blarney stone is a real stone located in Ireland. Kissing the Blarney stone is another Irish tradition. The term “blarney” has come to be known as the ability to coax and influence …without giving offence. Thus if you kiss the blarney stone, you should be able to talk your way into or out of most anything. Kissing the Blarney stone is no easy feat however. First, you have to get to the tower. Then you must make your way up to the top of the almost 90-foot structure. Somehow, hanging backwards (on your back and out an opening or window in the tower) under the Blarney stone, while grasping safety rails you kiss the Blarney stone. (There are safety rails in place now because some one did fall to their death once upon a time.)
An Irish Blessing
The Irish do have a way with words. It feels wonderful to receive a gift with the words of an Irish blessing.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!