Irish and non-Irish alike celebrate March 17th throughout the world. Originally dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has today evolved into a more secular celebration of heritage, including parades, festivals, and gatherings around the world. In fact it is the most widely celebrated saint’s day on the planet. Just remember you will need to be “wearin’ o’ the green”.
Everyone is a little Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day!
It’s not Just the Irish Who Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
The whole world loves the Irish. How could anyone not? No other country is as stereotypically drunk, fun and friendly. No other country has been the direct or indirect cause of populating so many other countries. In North America and other places in the New World, millions claim this celebrated ancestry and take extreme pride in their roots.
In Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, boast as being almost exclusively made up of descendants from Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is regarded as a public holiday. According to the Tourist Office of Ireland, around 70 million people around the world consider themselves to be Irish or of that ancestry. And according to American census reports, more than 10 times more Irish are living in North America than in Ireland. Even Barack Obama has Irish roots!
In the Irish language, there is no word for ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you want to confirm or deny something, you must say ‘I did’ or ‘I didn’t’, for example, if someone asks ‘will you have cup of tea?’, you would answer ‘I will, thanks’.
Irish Luck & Music
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.
Celtic Music is associated with both St. Patrick’s Day—the countrymen 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.
In addition to the Shamrock, the leprechaun is likely the most widely known symbol. A leprechaun is actually a type of fairy and that has existed in native culture since medieval times. Traditionally, leprechauns a\were tall fairies and often appear to humans as an old man – much different from the modern view of a small, childlike fairy in a green suit.
Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don’t want to press your luck.”
Did ye know that ……
- St. Paddy’s Day was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970. Being a religious holiday the pubs were closed.
- The real St. Patrick wasn’t even born in Ireland. He was born in Britain (some say Wales) around A.D. 390.
- The colour originally associated with Saint Patrick was not green, it was blue; there is even a special shade of the colour known as Saint Patrick’s Blue. The association of green and Saint Patrick only became popular when green was unofficially adopted as the colour of Ireland’s nationalist movement.
- Ireland isn’t the only place in the world where Saint Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and the Caribbean Island of Montserrat also get a day off for the festivities as they were originally settled by largely settlers from Ireland.
- The shamrock was considered a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring and some say the holy trinity.
- The song ” Danny Boy” was written by an Englishman and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” was written by two Americans.
- Vancouver holds a Celticfest that includes a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
- 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.
- There are 10 well known sites and monuments around the world that are ‘lit up’ in honor of St. Paddy’s Day.
- On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous brand of stout, 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”
St. Patrick was a Christian missionary given credited with converting Ireland to Christianity in the AD 400s.
“What’s the craic?” It’s Irish for Fun & Enjoyment
Green beer has become a staple and popular symbol for St. Patrick’s Day. So how does one make Green Beer? It takes a wee bit of effort!
Step 1 – place beer mugs in the refrigerator to chill
Step 2 – add a drop of either green food coloring OR a couple of drops of Blue Curacoa into the bottom of the mugs BEFORE pouring a pale colored beer
Step 3 – hold the mug at a 45 degree angle and begin to pour the beer aiming at the midpoint – halfway down the mug. Tilt the mug up as the beer reaches the halfway point. Finish with a ½ – 1 ½ inch head.
Step 4 – offer a blessing to get your Irish eyes smilin’ – see below
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.
- 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!
- There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.
- 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!
- 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 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.
Enjoy a Guinness on St. Paddy’s Day morn’
On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world, BUT on St. Patrick’s Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints.
How about a Baby Guinness? To make this ‘shot’, in a shot glass, layer 1/2 oz of Bailey’s Irish Cream on top of 1 1/4 oz of the Kahlua.
All things Irish
Ireland has produced many talented people who have made contributions to the world. Some of the ones not on that list who also come immediately to mind include:River
- The Cranberries
- Liam Neeson
- Pierce Brosnan
- Colin Farrell
- Sam Neil
- Sean Bean
- Michael Fassbender
- Cillian Murphy
- Gabriel Byrne
- Colm Meaney
- Frank McCourt
- Bram Stoker
- and two of my personal musical favorites Van Morrison & Hozier
- OK, well give the Irish Rovers a spot on the list, too.
Life’s too Short not to be Irish
St. Patrick’s Day rolls around next Saturday morn’, let’s have a wee bit o’ the Irish in all of us. Since no one is going to be helping themselves to a pint or a whiskey on the job, 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. Make it Irish and all will seem bright and gay! (Bailey’s Irish Cream – optional)
Morn’ coffee ingredients
- 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
Irish Today, Hungover Tomorrow
Hope a bit o’ Irish luck and a bit o’ Irish cheer will be snuggled down inside your heart and stay all through the year!