St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most tweeted, Facebooked, and Instagramed holidays of the year. The St. Patty’s Day hashtags will be blowing up your feed for days before and after the holiday. With all the hype about a traditionally Irish celebration, one has to wonder if the individuals partaking in the festivities really understand what they are celebrating. For all they know St. Patrick could have been a dude worshipped for wearing a corn beef sandwich atop his head while kicking short people and calling them leprechauns. Allow me to take you on a hashtag journey to learn some brief history of this occasion.
The story of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland
St. Patrick was actually born in Britain and resided there until young adulthood when he was taken captive by Irish raiders. After six years in captivity St. Patrick escaped, according to his writing, guided by God. Shortly after his return to Britain he writes that he was given a holy quest to return to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. So…he did! He became a priest, moved to Ireland, and began his mission. In his work, St. Patrick blended pagan Irish and Christian belief. The Celtic cross? Yeah, He created that – combining the Christian cross with the powerful Irish symbol for the sun. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th because is speculated that it is the day St. Patrick died.
So why are clovers a tradition for St. Patrick’s Day? The three leaf clovers were said to have been used by St. Patrick as an educational tool while attempting to convert the Irish. He used the clover, with its three leaves, to represent the holy trinity. The legend of the four leaf clover bringing luck came about as most legends do, through superstition (and in this case an elevated status by Celtic priests). For every one four leaf clover there are 10,000 three-leaf clovers. With odds like that, the luck one might receive from a four leaf clover ends at simply locating one.
The initial color associated with St. Patrick was blue (even called St. Patrick blue). The color green became associated with Ireland because of its rich green landscape and the shamrock. Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day originated from the tradition of pinning a clover to your lapel in honor of St. Patrick. The United Irish uprising in 1798 took the tradition and made it political – choosing green uniforms. The tradition continued on and wearing green is still meant to show a connection to Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day falls amidst the season of lent for Catholics (a time they give up vices as penance). Since the middle ages, Irish Catholics have been celebrating this day as a holy day and, in honor of St. Patrick, are allowed a reprieve from lent for this day with most individuals choosing to down a pint or two of ale. That is where someone took that idea and ran with it making St. Patrick’s Day a booze fest rather than a small reprieve from religious restrictions.
On St. Patrick’s day you will see the phrase “Kiss me I’m Irish” on T-shirts, buttons, and perhaps even being shouted across the bar. Where did the phrase come from? Why, the Blarney Stone of course! The Blarney stone is located in Ireland in the Blarney Castle. There is a legend that suggests that kissing the stone will endow you with the gift of eloquence, gab, and skill at flattery. Since most people can’t get to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone, the next best thing would be to kiss someone Irish right? Thus the phrase “Kiss me I’m Irish” arose.
I hope you enjoyed the hashtag history lesson. If you would like to add anything or give feedback, please comment below! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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Post by KEYSTONE CLICK.