Top o’ the mornin’ to ye Lads and Lassies and the rest of the day to ‘me self! Are ye Irish perchance? If ye aren’t – not to worry because the Irish believe “Everyone is a little Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day”.
Each year March 17th is celebrated not only in Ireland but throughout the world by Irish and non-Irish alike. In fact it is the most widely celebrated saint’s day on the planet. St. Paddy’s Day is known for parades, ancestry, traditions, shamrocks, leprechauns and the “wearin’ o’ the green”. Irish folk outside of Ireland wear something the color of the Emerald Isle on St Patrick’s Day as a show of their commitment to their Irish heritage. This tradition has caught on to include non-Irish folk as well.
St. Patrick’s Day is honored in many ways and not only in Irish pubs! Yes, a pint of green beer is often served however there are also green milkshakes (thank ye MacDonalds), green cookies, clover shaped sandwiches as well as other Irish specialties such as corn beef with boiled cabbage and Irish stew.
- For starters, the real St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390.
- The color traditionally associated with St. Patrick was blue, not green.
- Wearing green is believed to make one invisible to leprechauns who would pinch anyone they could see.
- The shamrock was considered a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.
- The song ” Danny Boy” was written by an Englishman and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” was written by two Americans.
- Vancouver organizes St Patrick’s Day parades that include Irish dancers, stilt walkers, multicultural performers, award-winning bagpipe bands and more.
- Newfoundland and Labrador are almost exclusively made up of Irish descendants and is one of two places in the world (outside of Ireland )that treats St. Patrick’s Day as a public holiday (Montserrat is the other).
- Montreal boasts the longest-running St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country (since 1824)
- Toronto maintains a very large and representative St. Patrick’s Day Parade with floats from nearly every county in Ireland.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patrick’s from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys. When the Maple Leafs played on Saint Patrick’s Day 1999, they wore green Saint Patrick’s retro uniforms to honor the day.
- Irish-Americans are the largest ethnic group in Chicago and the city dyes a portion of the Chicago River green as a tribute to St. Patrick’s Day.
- More than 10 times more Irish are living in North America than in Ireland.
- On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout brand, are consumed around the world. According to Guinness drinking of the “Black Stuff” more than doubles to 13 million pints on St. Patrick’s Day.
- “Dance as if no one were watching, Sing as if no one were listening, And live every day as if it were your last” is an old Irish saying
The Luck of the Irish isn’t luck at all, but more of an attitude, a positive look at a bad situation. It is a peculiar phrase that may have multiple meanings. There is little agreement on the origins of this idiom, and some suggest it simply means that the Irish are inherently lucky, and seem to be able to land on their feet whenever a bad circumstance may occur.
One of the most recognized symbols in Irish folklore is the Leprechaun. Many believe these wee little fellas probably stem from Celtic belief in fairies – tiny men who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. Thought to be cranky souls, these roguish tricksters are not to be trusted and will deceive whenever possible. They have played several roles in Irish folk tales but principally leprechauns are responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies.
Celtic Music is associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs. In Canada there are a number of talented Celtic groups that have modernized this music and kept it alive.
Considering the Irish do love their pubs, beer and whiskey, it is only natural that they would have a number of colorful phrases that have been developed into Toasts and Blessings. Many of us have heard these phrases used in one way or another.
- Here’s to you and yours and to mine and ours. And if mine and ours ever come across to you and yours, I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours as mine and ours have done for you and yours!
- May your heart be light and happy, may your smile be big and wide, and may your pockets always have a coin or two inside!
- May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.
- May the luck of the Irish be with you!
- There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.
- May the road rise up to meet you.
- May the wind be always at your back.
- May you live as long as you want
And never want as long as you live
- Peace on your hand and health to all who shake it
- May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
- May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead.
There are a number of Irish Proverbs that continue to be included in modern day conversation.
- A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
- A fool and his money are easily parted.
- A watched kettle never boils.
- Constant company wears out its welcome.
- Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched
- He who pays the piper calls the tune.
- Idleness is a fool’s desire.
- It is no shame to tell the truth.
- Least said soonest mended.
- Make hay while the sun shines.
- The early bird catches the worm.
- The longest road out is the shortest road home.
- There are finer fish in the sea than have ever been caught.
- There are two tellings to every story
- There is no smoke without fire.
- There’s a fool born every minute- and every one of them lives!
- The road to hell is paved with good intentions
- What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
- You can take a man out of the bog, but you can’t take the bog out of the man.
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
- You never miss the water till the well has run dry.
- You’d think butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.
Life’s too short not to be Irish. So when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around next Monday morn’, let’s have a wee bit o’ the Irish in all of us. No one is going to be helping themselves to a pint or a whiskey on the job, so here is an Irish Cream recipe that can be safely enjoyed by each lass and lad – whether it be bucketing down (raining) or the day be grand.
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.
- For each serving, place coffee in a mug. Stir in 1/3 cup Irish cream. Heat mixture in a microwave if desired.
- Yield: 3-1/3 cups and 10 servings
To learn more about St. Paddy’s Day, take a listen to The History of Saint Patrick – a Short Story
For even more fun, you can download Clover Catch a free games app on iTunes.
May the leprechauns be near you
To spread luck along your way
And may all the Irish angels
Smile upon you on St. Patrick’s Day