Everyone is Irish today. It’s St. Patrick’s Day!
The wearin’ of the green. Even I am in green. I dug out an old green tee shirt and am wearing it as I write.
Think about it. Today’s title fits: From a Saint and Snakes in Ireland to Parades and Drinking Green Beer.
I am going to share some tidbits of information concerning St. Patrick and the holiday. Some you may know, or think you know. Others not and will be surprised.
St. Patrick was not Irish. If one goes way back, he has been described as Italian born as a Roman. Some say he is of English birth since when captured at 16 he was living in England. One thing is sure, he was not born in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day was not always a big party. Not even a parade. Initially considered a celebration. It was a Catholic feast day. The first largely public celebration occurred in Boston in 1737.
Note again, no parade involved. Merely a party of sorts.
Now for the real confusion.
Confusion arises in trying to accurately determine the date of the first parade and why March 17 is the day we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Repeating myself, the first celebration was in 1737.
The date of the first parade claimed by a number of communities. St. Augustine, Florida 1601. New York City 1762. New York City again 1776.
March 17 is also significant for other claims. His date of capture 432 A.D. His date of death 461 A.D.
All of the preceding have been claimed as having occurred on March 17 and such is the reason St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17. Obviously no one is sure why.
St. Patrick, the shamrock and the Irish are interrelated. Legend has it that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to describe the idea of God as a Holy Trinity. Three leaves on a normal shamrock. God consisting of Three Persons.
St. Patrick wore blue. Never green. People started cloaking images of him in green in the 19th century. For purposes of celebration and to commemorate St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock.
Snakes were never driven out of Ireland by St. Patrick or anyone else. There never were any snakes in Ireland. The snakes are actually a metaphor for the pagans St. Patrick drove out of Ireland.
There are more Irish in the U.S. today than in Ireland. Significantly more. The present U.S. population of those of Irish descent is 35 million. Ireland’s population is only 4 million.
The river running through Chicago is always green for St. Patrick’s day. Huge amounts of green coloring are hosed into the water. The greening of the river began in 1962.
I watched it being done yesterday in Chicago this morning on TV. Relatively large tug type vessel. Celebrants on board already partying one day early.
Corned beef and cabbage is a popular Irish tradition. Each year it is estimated 26 billion pounds of beef and 2 billion pounds of cabbage will be consumed worldwide. Also consumed worldwide will be 13 million pints of Guinness beer.
The one source considered accurate re Saint Patrick’s life is a work by St. Patrick himself wrote in the last years of his life. Confessio.
Normally I would be running around Key West tonight looking for an empty table to have corned beef and cabbage. Donna, Terri and I become a three some for dinner. Not tonight, of course. I still do not have my third shot and even if I did. there are too many virus carrying visitors in town.
Every restaurant will have excellent corned beef and cabbage. I happen to love corned beef. Especially when fatty. Last year, I began frequenting Shanna Key on Flagler one night a week. A true Irish restaurant, Shanna Key has corned beef and cabbage on the menu every night. I recommend it.
Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day. I will be spending my evening home in front of the TV set probably eating a ham and cheese sandwich. I might sneak a Beefeater in.