St Patrick’s Day

I’m not Irish and have no Irish connections that I know of so have never gotten in to St Patrick’s Day (Lá Fhéile Pádraig), but if it means something to you, as a proud Irish immigrant or descendant or just like an excuse to have a good time then go for it.

Today’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations have been greatly influenced by those that developed among the Irish diaspora, especially in North America. Until the late 20th century, St Patrick’s Day was often a bigger celebration among the diaspora than it was in Ireland.

A lot of festive days have evolved markedly through international influences – and recently especially through marketing influences.

Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe (Irish traditional music sessions), and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. There are also formal gatherings such as banquets and dances, although these were more common in the past. St Patrick’s Day parades began in North America in the 18th century but did not spread to Ireland until the 20th century.

The participants generally include marching bands, the military, fire brigades, cultural organizations, charitable organizations, voluntary associations, youth groups, fraternities, and so on. However, over time, many of the parades have become more akin to a carnival. More effort is made to use the Irish language; especially in Ireland, where the week of St Patrick’s Day is “Irish language week”. Recently, famous landmarks have been lit up in green on St Patrick’s Day.

Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.

No wonder partying on St Patrick’s Day is popular.

Perhaps because of this, drinking alcohol – particularly Irish whiskey, beer or cider – has become an integral part of the celebrations.

The St Patrick’s Day custom of ‘drowning the shamrock’ or ‘wetting the shamrock’ was historically popular, especially in Ireland.At the end of the celebrations, shamrock is put into the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with whiskey, beer or cider. It is then drank as a toast; to St Patrick, to Ireland, or to those present. The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink, or be taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.

220px-irish_clover

It is claimed that St Patrick used the three leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans. I didn’t know that until now.

Some have described St Patrick’s Day celebrations outside Ireland as displays of “Plastic Paddyness”; where foreigners appropriate and misrepresent Irish culture, claim Irish identity, and enact Irish stereotypes.

That’s not unusual, similar has happened to many celebrations, like Easter and Christmas.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Day

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20 Comments

  1. Jeeves

     /  17th March 2016

    Ireland’s favourite Welshman…..

    Reply
  2. Oliver

     /  17th March 2016

    Why do we celebrate st Patrick’s day here in NZ? It’s for the same reason we celebrate German October beer fest. We welcome any excuse to legitimise binge drinking.

    Reply
  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  17th March 2016

    A Guiness, Gezza, please, not a beer !

    Oliver, if you know, why ask ? What an eejity question from an eejity eejit.

    I really dislike the tackiness of St Patrick’s day outside Ireland (although it’s probably gone tacky there too to some extent) with those cheap green hats and other cheap tat-and clovers instead of shamrocks which have a whitish line.

    Pete, I am surprised that you never knew that about the Trinity. He used it to show that three things are joined together in one plant to make one-let’s hope that nobody produced a four-leaf one and said ‘How about that, then ?’. He also banished snakes from Ireland, and there are still none there.

    There’s a dear little plant
    That grows in our isle-
    ‘Twas St Patrick himself, sure, that set it,
    And the angels looked down on his labour and smiled,
    And (a tear from his eye ?) often wet it-
    And it shines through the bog, through the (something) and mire land-
    And they called it the dear little shamrock of Ireland.

    How DO these things stay in one’s memory ?

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  17th March 2016

      Google?

      Reply
    • Oliver

       /  17th March 2016

      Kitty you’re being obtuse.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  17th March 2016

        I think not-do you know what that word means ? Do you mean abstruse, perchance?

        Nelly, although we were the wrong religion and from the wrong side of the border and my mother despised songs like that, it seems that I’ve always known it. Damn it, now I’ll have it as an earworm all night. It has a dreary little tune.

        Reply
        • Oliver

           /  17th March 2016

          No I mean obtuse, and yes of course I know the meaning do you?

          Reply
        • Nelly Smickers

           /  17th March 2016

          I’m with you on the meaning of that word kitcat – I always thort ‘obtuse’ had something to do with the degree of certain angles?

          Anyway, just looked it up in my old school dictionary, and it does give an alternative definition:

          OBTUSE
          1. slow, dimwitted
          2. stupid. ignorant. dense. dumb. idiot. moronic. dull. foolish. slow. brainless. unintelligent. moronic. silly. thick. vague.

          Perhaps Oliver is into self abuse 😀

          Reply
          • Oliver

             /  17th March 2016

            I’ll make a special effort to dumb down my language so that everyone here will be able understand.

            Reply
            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              I thought you already did that from your very first post on here?

    • “Pete, I am surprised that you never knew that about the Trinity”

      I’ve heard of the Trinity, once I was well into adulthood. Today is the first time I’ve heard that it’s linked to the shamrock.

      I don’t have any Catholic or Irish background so had no chance of coming across them earlier.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  17th March 2016

        I meant that St Patrick had illustrated it with the shamrock, not that you wouldn’t have heard of the Trinity !

        Reply

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