STATESIDE STORIES: Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

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Though I’ve never been to Ireland, my heart starts to sing when I hear Celtic music

 

By Mary Foran

St.Patrick’s Day has rolled around again, and celebrations abound. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th of March, which is said to be the day of his death.

According to Wikepedia, St.Patrick was a 5th century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. He is Ireland’s Patron Saint along with Saints Brigit and Columba. His day is celebrated inside and outside of Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday.

St Patrick's Day weekend, chicago

St Patrick’s Day celebrations gone to the dogs!

The exact dates of his life are unknown; however, they say that when he was 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain by Irish pirates, who took him as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before he escaped and returned to his family. He became a cleric and returned to northern and western Ireland and later served as an ordained bishop there.

Legend says that Patrick taught the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing the people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, to illustrate three persons in one God.

And the fact that there are no snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that St. Patrick banished the creatures from the country, chasing them into the sea.

St Patrick's Day parade Chicago

Parade on St Patrick’s Day weekend, Chicago

One thing I learned while I was in Spain was that real Irish don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day as do we silly Americans who go all out with green hats, ties, ribbons and bows and all the shamrocks we can muster. American Irish started out in Ellis Island and spread all across the country, which is why we make such a fuss on this special day. My own Irish heritage comes from my maternal grandmother and father, who came to America by way of the Peace Arch border with Canada. Only my Spanish niece has actually been to Ireland, and she says it is as beautiful and green as they say it is.

Though I’ve never been to Ireland, my heart starts to sing when I hear Celtic music. Northern Spanish Celtic bands were some of my favorites when I was living in Spain. Spain’s regions are known for their individuality, and northern Spain is an entirely different entity to Castile.

Luck is important to the Irish, and serendipity has been important to me. Through good luck and bad, I have been grateful for all my good fortune, if not actual fortune!

So here’s a toast to the Luck O’ the Irish and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

 

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S

 

 

 

 

 

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 Photos

Featured image: Flickr user jpmpinmontreal, Creative Commons licensed (http://austin.com/youve-got-to-try-one-of-these-authentic-austin-based-irish-pubs-on-saint-patricks-day/). Cropped

Green dog (cropped) and parade: JAMIE McCAFFREY
http://www.flickr.com/photos/15609463@N03/8569929147/in/photostream/ Creative Commons Attribution