Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

An Old Irish Blessing:

     May love and laughter light your days,

     and warm your heart and home.

     May good and faithful friends be yours,

     wherever you may roam.

     May peace and plenty bless your world

     with joy that long endures.

     May all life’s passing seasons

     bring the best to you and yours!

We Irish claim St. Patrick as our own, but did you know he really wasn’t Irish?

Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat in Roman Britain (and he wasn’t particularly religious). As a teenager, he was kidnapped and forced into slavery, tending sheep in Ireland for six years. After his escape, he returned to his family and was ordained a priest, taking the name Patrick; however, a voice told him to go back to Ireland, where he worked hard to serve those who were already Christians and convert those who weren’t.

And what about the legends that sprang up around him? A lot of blarney, to be sure.

  1. St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Sorry, but Ireland is pretty much surrounded by COLD water, which would prevent even the most determined snake from getting in.
  2. Wearing of the green. Actually, blue is the color associated with St. Patrick. The green idea probably relates to Ireland’s “Emerald Isle” nickname.
  3. St. Patrick used a shamrock to illustrate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity). Maybe, but nothing in his writings suggest this. Probably the “magic three” is indicative of the Irish rhythm in storytelling. Or has something to do with Past, Present, Future; Love, Valor, Wit; Faith, Hope, Charity; you get the idea.

Although March 17, the date Patrick died, has been celebrated for centuries, credit Irish-Americans with making the holiday what it is today.

Boston has the honor of the first recorded St. Paddy’s Day celebration in 1737. New York held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762. Not to be outdone, Chicago began dyeing its river green in 1962 (something I’ve never seen, but really want to — I understand the dye actually is orange, but a leprechaun turns it emerald via magic!).

As a side note, last year’s Chicago parade found temperatures in the 80s. This year, we’re looking at the 30s. Go figure!

U.S. Census data indicates there are more than 34.7 million Americans with Irish ancestry — more than seven times the population of Ireland itself!


29 thoughts on “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  1. Fantastic! I had no idea, I had no idea and I had no idea! It’s fun to look back at how so many of our legends and folklore and celebrations got started and what very little is really accurate. Doesn’t take away the fun though.

    Love the Irish blessing. I’ll be wearing green (and blue) tomorrow. Enjoy!

    • Thanks, Barb! Glad I was able to “educate” you this morning. I guess bigger-than-life people become that way because of the legends that spring up around them — without the Internet, it must have been pretty easy to convince the masses of stuff like this!

  2. Fascinating facts you share, Debbie, because I had no idea about most of these!?

    ” Not to be outdone, Chicago began dyeing its river green in 1962.”

    Yes, that I knew about, but didn’t know that it was actually orange dye.

    Here in Philly, they’ve been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since last week. It started last Saturday, with the parade on Sunday. Tomorrow, I think they may have an additional parade or city party going on as well.

    Love the Irish blessing you shared. It’s beautiful!

    Do you know what my favorite Irish ballad is? The song, “Danny Boy.” It brings tears to my eyes anytime I hear it.

    Have a faaaaaabulous St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, Debbie!


    • Ron, I’ve been “celebrating” all week now! I just love being part-Irish, and green and blue are my favorite colors. “Danny Boy” always brings tears to my eyes. Always. Right there weeping with you! Enjoy your weekend, my new-found friend!

  3. Love the Irish blessing!
    Though I’m part Irish I’m not big into the St. Patty Celebrations. However, our neighbors (no matter which day of the week it falls on) has a huge party with outdoor games that lasts until about three am.

    • I would imagine 3 a.m. revelries can be a tad annoying, Suzi, particularly if they’re on the noisy side. I’ve been quietly celebrating most of the week, hanging decorations, wearing green, etc. I think my mom, who’s full-blown Italian, is getting sick of seeing me come around in my green, ha!

  4. OMG Debbie, I had no idea that all the traditions associated with St. Pat’s Day were really a bunch of bunk! Like you, I too, have longed to see the Chicago river flowing green on the 17th. I also fancy trying green beer!

    • I’m practically ashamed to admit it, Pat, but I’ve never had green beer either. We’re going to have to remedy that, you know, and today’s as good as any. Bottoms up!!

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  6. Love the blessing. Thanks for demystifying! Very interesting. St. Patrick, I was not happy to learn that snakes and Pagens had a lot in common.
    My corn-beef, red potatoes, cabbage are in the fridge ready for the big day. The river never looked greener, I will try to post a picture tomorrow. Of-course, there are the usual environmental whiners (said with a loving tone) but like who cares–the products are chosen with care–and well, the Chicago River isn’t all that clean to begin with. . .everyone has been complaining about parade weather and true it was 80 last year but we live in Chicago so I don’t think 80 degree weather is something we can count on.
    I will wear blue-green tomorrow, and a shamrock pin Joe bought me at our first parade together. Ironically, it was also the last time we went to the parade– they moved it to the weekend, regardless of when the 17th fell and turned it into a madhouse (parade, pubs, thousands of people = Madhouse. It use to be a fun, during the week affair, around noon–unless it fell on Saturday.
    May the day be luck for yee.

    • Aye, Katybeth, please do post a picture of the River turning green! One of these days, I’m going to carry my self up there and see it with my own eyes. I have my green on — “Irish and proud of it” — as well as blue jeans, so I’m all set. The corned beef comes out later. Have a grand day and let’s not complain too much about the cold. You’re right, it IS March!!

  7. This is one of my favorite holidays of the year, and St. Patrick one of my favorites. “The Deer’s Cry”, with its words attributed to St. Patrick, is one of the most beautiful musical expressions of faith I know.

    My mother’s mother’s family came from Ireland – County Down, for certain, and perhaps other locations. My grandfather used to sing “Star of the County Down” to me, and play the fife that my great-great grandfather Crowley carried in the Civil War.

    The shamrocks and green beer and all that are fun, but my goodness – do I love the day for it’s reminder to cherish my heritage!

    • Linda, thanks for the beautiful link! St. Patrick’s prayer is one of my favorites, too. How grand, learning you and I share Irish lineage! My ancestors on my dad’s side came from Ireland — my late uncle did the genealogy, but he ran into all sorts of difficulties finding records and such. I enjoy the traditions that have sprung up around the day, but celebrating our heritage is the best advice of all!

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    • Did you tie a green ribbon around Katie’s neck, Dawn? Dallas won’t sit for being “gussied up,” despite Katybeth’s hints. He doesn’t even particularly like having a collar on!

    • Domer just got back from NYC (Big East — yep, they lost!). He didn’t stick around for the parade, though I suggested it. Little did I know the officers were “partaking of the creature” — guess my son is wiser than I am!!

        • I didn’t get to go, but the TV was on (and has been, for the past 10 days or so!). Sorry about the WolfPack — I was hoping they’d win. As for Domer going to the NCAA’s, I suspect so, but I don’t know if he’s going to play for the Lady Irish or the men. How about the OmaSon??

  9. Happy St Patrick’s Day, Debbie! Wow, I didn’t realize that we have more people of Irish ancestry here in the States than in Ireland. So, does that mean that St. Paddy’s Day is a bigger deal here? My favorite part of the holiday are the Shamrock shakes McDonald’s make. Though I don’t think they’re traditional. 😉

    • Yesterday, I had a mint oreo Blizzard at Dairy Queen as part of my celebration — probably didn’t need the calories since losing 5 lbs. is on my “to-do” list this year, but it was fabulous!!

  10. Fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t know most of this, so it was a learning experience. (All I knew is that for some reason, I had to wear something green or the kids would be pinching me all day :))

    • Kids use ANY occasion as an opportunity to pinch, don’t they?! When I was little, we had certain days where you “had” to wear certain colors — I imagine uniforms would have solved that problem, haha! Hope you had your green on and avoided the pinchers!

  11. So considering that a lot of the stories are just that – stories – I have to wonder what makes St. Patrick so much more celebrated than many of the other saints!

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