Tuesday, February 27, 2024

With St. Patty's Day coming up, here's some facts to ponder...


1. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast–on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
2. Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.
3. There Were No Snakes Around for St. Patrick to Banish from Ireland. Among the legends associated with St. Patrick is that he stood atop an Irish hillside and banished snakes from Ireland—prompting all serpents to slither away into the sea. In fact, research suggests snakes never occupied the Emerald Isle in the first place. There are no signs of snakes in the country’s fossil record. And water has surrounded Ireland since the last glacial period. Before that, the region was covered in ice and would have been too cold for the reptiles.
4. While people in Ireland had celebrated St. Patrick since the 1600s, the tradition of a St. Patrick’s Day parade began in America and actually predates the founding of the United States. Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier were organized by the Spanish Colony's Irish vicar Ricardo Artur. More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in Boston in 1737 and in New York City on March 17.
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5. While Irish Americans are now proud to showcase their heritage, the Irish were not always celebrated by fellow Americans. Beginning in 1845, a devastating potato blight caused widespread hunger throughout Ireland. While approximately 1 million perished, another 2 million abandoned their land in the largest-single population movement of the 19th century. Most of the exiles—nearly a quarter of the Irish nation—came to the shores of the United States. Once they arrived, the Irish refugees were looked down upon as disease-ridden, unskilled and a drain on welfare budgets.
6. The meal that became a St. Patrick’s Day staple across the country—corned beef and cabbage—was an American innovation. While ham and cabbage were eaten in Ireland, corned beef offered a cheaper substitute for impoverished immigrants. Irish-Americans living in the slums of lower Manhattan in the late 19th century and early 20th, purchased leftover corned beef from ships returning from the tea trade in China. The Irish would boil the beef three times—the last time with cabbage—to remove some of the brine.


3 comments:

  1. A shillelagh is usually blackthorn.

    ReplyDelete
  2. During the US revolutionary war, the British were forced to evacuate from the city ofBoston on March 17. Later, when Irish pols ran the city they had it declared a municipal holiday to avoid any church and state issues. Today, in Boston, St Patrick’s day is a city holiday officially known as Evacuation Day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The problem is that when Saint Patrick drove the snakes out, they were replaced with politicians. That's why it's been in such a mess ever since.

    ReplyDelete

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