Kiss me im Irish
While I was serving corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day I was wondering just who St. Patrick was and why exactly there is a holiday in his behalf. I do have some Irish in my blood but I have never really known why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated I figured it’s time to get down to my Irish roots and discover the mystery myself.
So I did a little digging and found that it wasn’t quiet as easy as I thought it would be to unveil the identity of St. Patrick.
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling. It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries-spinning exciting tales to remember history.
While on the search I also found out some interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day;
• The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762.
• The New York City St. Patrick's Day parade marches up 5th Avenue from 44th street to 86th street. In 2009 the parade will be on Tuesday, March 17, and will begin at 11 a.m.
• Over 100 St. Patrick's Day parades take place around the United States, but the parades in New York City and Boston are the largest.
• The New York St. Patrick's Day parade does not allow automobiles or floats, but over 150,000 marchers participate in the parade.
• There are 4 places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, TX, were the most populous, with 2,623 and 1,841 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 162 residents and Shamrock, OK, 125. (Statistic for Mount Gay-Shamrock is from Census 2000; the other statistics in the paragraph are 2007 estimates.)
• There are 9 places in the United States that share the name of Ireland's capital, Dublin. Since Census 2000, Dublin, CA, has surpassed Dublin, OH, as the most populous of these places (39,328 compared with 34,964, respectively, as of July 1, 2005).
If you are still not into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day after stopping by one of the places named "Shamrock" or "Dublin", then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, NC, with 3,686 residents.