Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day Fun

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) to one and all! I thought I'd share a bit of fun and facts about this celebration, the man who is honored today, and the country that was home to my ancestors on my paternal grandmother's side of the family!

The man known as St Patrick wasn't Irish - although he was born in Roman Britain in what is present day Scotland or Wales. His given name wasn't Patrick either, it was Maewyn Succat - Patrick was a name he chose for himself after he went to France to study to become a priest. ( St Patrick stained glass design by smashingglass)

Even though the legend of St Patrick says he drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, there were never any snakes in Ireland! It's now believed that the reference to snakes actually refers to Druids - a nature worshipping religious group considered by Christians of the era to be savage pagans.

The shamrock, or three-leaf clover, is a registered trademark of the Government of Ireland. The three leaves are said to symbolize the Holy Trinity of Christian faith - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The four leaf clover on the other hand has different symbolism attached to it. The four leaves symbolize hope, faith, love, and luck. Occuring rarely in nature (only 1 for every 10,000 3 leaf clovers), the finding of a four leaf clover is said to bring luck to the finder!


The Blarney Stone is an actual stone! It's a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle which stands about 5 miles (8 km) from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone (which you have to do while hanging upside down on the side of a parapet) endows the kisser with the gift of gab! (Blarney Castle photo 5x7 Photo print available at ShortGirlDesigns)

Corned beef and cabbage isn't a traditional dish in Ireland. Irish immigrants to the US who lived on New York City's Lower East Side substituted less expensive corned beef for their traditional Irish bacon around the turn of the 20th century. Who did they learn about this cheaper alternative from? Their Jewish neighbors!

23 of the 44 US presidents have "Irish roots" in their family tree - including our current president Barack Obama.

According to Irish folklore, if you capture a leprechaun, he will give you a gold piece from his pot of gold or grant you 3 wishes in return for his freedom. But beware, if you look away from him for even a moment, he will vanish immediately! (Lucky Leprechaun tempts you with a 'Pot 'o Gold ornament available from FairyTaleEggs)

The secret of green beer? The lightest colored beer you can find and a drop or two of green food coloring. (Although one expert says the magic number is 6 drops per glass!)

When St Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent, the ban on eating meat is lifted by the Catholic church to allow for a traditional meat meal.

While the color green is usually what we think of in regards to St. Patrick's Day, the first color associated with the holiday was actually blue - the color of the Order of St Patrick.

I could go on with these fun facts forever, but I think I'll save some for next year's post!
I will however, share one of our favorite little Irish jokes with you to brighten your day -

Three Irishmen were walking out of a bar one fine evening...
Hey, it could happen!

Lastly, on this St Patrick's Day -

May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

5 comments:

customdesigns4ubynan said...

and a fine thing it is you do, telling us of St Patrick and the traditions of Ireland, the old sod.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for including my St Patrick stained glass piece in your blog! I'm honored...Happy St Paddys!
Patsi

Smashing Glass

Maleah Matthews said...

Fun factoids! Thanks for sharing!

storybeader said...

what a great post! So must interesting info, and cute Irish themed items! Thanks for doing your research! {:-D

Splendid Little Stars said...

great post; interesting facts. My daughter has found at least 2 4-leaf clovers in her life. She had a friend who was good at finding them. I believe the first one they found together on the soccer field ust before a game.

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