This morning, 3/15/2019, on the TODAY show, the Port Authority Pipes Band kicked off the weekend that the entire world celebrates. St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, but the party has already started. This is a time of green rivers, Guinness pouring like water, and quirky outfits and adornments in the streets of almost every city [especially Irish communities] across the globe.
Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking and a whole lot of green.
On Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, most restaurants will be offering the staples of Irish dining; corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, soda bread, potatoes, and lots of the Guinness dark beer from Dublin. The recipes have evolved with different cultures that the Irish became a part of thru immigration. Most of the meats are brined and used with cabbage which was the cheapest vegetable to obtain during the many centuries of hard economic times. Corned beef with cabbage is actually an Irish/American dish eaten during the time when the two cultures became one in the melting pot of America.
Why does everyone wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? The traditional color was blue. Green became associated with Ireland because of the shamrock (the Trinity) and the landscape. In 1798, the Irish uprising brought about wearing the color green.
Did you know St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish? He was born around the 15th century in Britain. He was a Christian missionary that brought the message of hope to Ireland and cleansed the island of paganism. He used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the island. He never drove snakes from Ireland because the emerald island is too frigid for snakes. The snakes symbolized paganism.
The first parade was in 1762 in New York. This was when Irish and British soldiers marched into a tavern to celebrate. This March 17th the entire world will celebrate.
So if you have just a “wee bit” of Irish in you, or even if you don’t….it’s a wonderful day to celebrate the day’s meaning.
Personal reflection: You can’t get more Irish than the surname, “Cox.” I come from a family that knew the meaning of hard work and inner strength. For me, Saint Patrick’s Day will not be a day of drinking and partying. It is a time to reflect on the true gift of family and heritage. I might even do a gig that I did as a young child when my red-head Irish granddad played music in front of his wood heater. Some things just come naturally. From a true Irish lassie, “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!”
Ref. history.com, TODAY/NBC
Photo courtesy of Bing via pinterest.com