St. Patrick's Day History
Well the day has come. It's Saint Patrick's Day, which means different things to different people. For me, it s a day of remembrance because its my mom's birthday, and she is long gone. For some, its a chance to be an honorary Irishman and live up to the stereotype of drinking excessively. I'll be honest though I don't know too much about what the day is supposed to mean, I am sure it has something to do with St. Patrick, but what exactly I dunno. So I looked it up.
History.com helped me out here, giving a short biography of St. Patrick:
ST. PATRICK: TAKEN PRISONER BY IRISH RAIDERS
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. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, 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. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) 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. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)
ST. PATRICK: GUIDED BY VISIONS
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.
To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. 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. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)
ST. PATRICK: BONFIRES AND CROSSES
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. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. 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 has always been a part of the Irish way of life.
Well, there is the historical reasoning. But I don't hear too many mentions of ole St. Pat at the bar on March 17th. I do see everyone wearing green which made me wonder why. I found an answer at the Telegraph:
It is worth noting that blue, not green, is the color originally associated with St Patrick. “St Patrick’s Blue” is used on Ireland's Presidential Standard or flag (left), while the Irish Guards sport a plume of St Patrick’s blue in their bearskins.
The emphasis on green is thought to be linked to “wearing the Green”, a symbol from the 18th century on, of sympathy with Irish independence.
Why do people wear green on St Patrick's Day?
Wearing green has now become associated with St Patrick's Day, even though the saint was originally associated with the color blue. It is thought that the shift happened for several reasons – Ireland's nickname is the 'Emerald Isle', there is green in the Irish flag and the shamrock, Ireland's national symbol, is also green.
Of course drinking is the main past time today. Shamrock Juice is the go to drink, a cocktail of one and one and a half ounces each of gin, vodka, rum, tequila and blue curacao. Here are some more drink recipes to help you out. That’s the equivalent of something like three and a half standard drinks. I am a Guinness Extra Stout man my self, but I did pick up a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey for the celebration.
Now you can enjoy these fine Irish drinks at a local watering hole, but i prefer to look for an Irish themed pub. Depending on where you live that might be hard to find. Most major cities have a Tilted Kilt, a pseudo Irish bar that beats Hooters any day. I have been to several around the country and like their Irish Nachos.
Now my mom isn't the only person who celebrates a birthday today, here are a few celebrities you can wish a happy birthday to:
Actor Gary Sinise
Musician Billy Corgan
Musician Nat King Cole
Actor Rob Lowe
Actress Brittney Daniel
Baltimore Orioles Slugger Chris Davis
Now part of any celebration is some good music. Celtic Music seems to warm the soul. Here is some traditional style:
As good as the music above is, i prefer mine infused with a little punk rock, like a little Dropkick Murphy's or Flogging Molly:
So Happy Birthday to my mom, and the rest of you go out and enjoy yourself today, but drink responsibly. Good thing it's Friday and most of us don't work tomorrow. If you're lucky you just might: