FACTS & MYTHS OF St PATRICK
St Patricks is the day you wear green and party, but there is a lot more to know about St Patrick.
St Patrick was born at the end of the 4th century in Britain.
St Patrick the patron saint of Ireland is one of christianities most well known people. But for all his fame his life still remains a mystery. Many of the stories about St Patrick including the account of him banning all snakesfrom Ireland are false made up from the process of hundreds of years of story telling.
It is known that St Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents and is believed to have diedon March 17th around 460 AD. Although his father was a christian deacon, it has been suggested that he took on that role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a religious family. However when he was 16 he was taken prisoner by Irish raiders who transported him to Ireland and he then spent 6 years in captivity. Although it is believed by some that he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo nearKillala, during this time in captivity he worked as a Shepherd outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid he turned to religion for solace and became a devout Christian.
When he was 22 he escaped from slavery. According to his writing a voice which he beleived to be God spoke to him in a dream and told him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so he walked nearly 200 milesto the Irish coast. After escaping back to Britain he wrote of a second dreamthat told him to return to Ireland as a missionary, he then studied for 15 years and after his ordination as a Priest he returned to Ireland. His goal was to convert and minister to Christians in Ireland. His approach was unique as he used traditional Irish rituals in his presentation of Christianity as opposed to eradicating the native beliefs. He added the synbol of the sun to the Christian cross and it became known as the Celtic cross. St Patrick was quite successful at gaining converts and this caused considerable upset amongst the Druids, he was arrested several times but escaped each time. He travelled throughout Ireland establishing Monasteries accross the country. He also set up schools and churches to help him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. Miracles attributed to him include driving the serpents out of Ireland.
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, St Patrick chose to incorporate the traditional rituals into his lesson of Christianity. For instance he used bonfires to celebrate Easter as the Irish were used to honouring their gods with fire, he also superimposed a sun which is a powerful Irish symbol on to the Christian cross to form the Celtic cross.
St Patricks day is held on March17th which is the anniversary of his death and his religious feast day. It is a religious holiday for many thousands in Ireland and is now celebrated all over the world. In Dublin they have a parade that attracts many thousands of people, whilst in Vhicage the river is died green. The 1st St Patricks parade was in New York in 1762.
On St Patricks day apart from wearing green you also eat the traditional corn beef and cabbage, on that day you wear green, eat green food and even drink green beer. Green is meant to commemorate St Patricks use of the shamrock although blue was the origanal colour of his vestments.
Find below some traditional Irish Food that you can serve on St Patricks Day you can gind the recipes for these dishes by going onto www.google.co.uk and typing in the name of the dish :
Irish Boxty - Irish Barmbrack - Irish Champ - Dublin Coddle
Corn Beef & Cabbage - Limerick Ham
Dublin Lawyer - Irish Mutton Broth - Irish Pancakes
Irish Pea & Ham Soup - Irish Porter Cake
Irish Baked Salmon - Irish Brown Scones
Irish Soda Bread - Irish Stew
Irish Spices Beef - Irish Potato Earl
Irish Potato Soup - Kerry Apple Cake
The leprechauns as told in the Irish tales were both naughty and cranky, but in 1959 Walt Disney gave them a more happy friendly appearance.
The Leprechaun is Irelands National fairy it is said he stands less than 3ft tall and is dressed in green with a pointed feathered cap on his head and gold coins clutched in his hands. In the first hand he has a magic coin that always returns when he spends it and in the other a dummy coin that turns to rock or ashes when he spends it. It is said that leprechauns are cobblers by trade and although hard worksers they are known for being solitary and surly, which makes them ideal for guarding the fairy treasure, the story goes that they spend their days scurrying from one end of the rainbow to the other forever moving the crock of gold. It is said that if you are lucky enough to find a leprechaun you have to ensure that you do not let him out of your site until he tells you where the crock of gold is, be careful though they are wily creatures and will suddenly dissapear taking your good fortune with him.
When St Parricks day arrives make sure you attend the parades,have the parties, wear green, carry a leprechaun with you and enjoy yourself. St Patrick is said to have proclaimed that everyone should have a drop of the hard stuff on St Patricks day, it is also said that he once told off an inn keeper for serving a short measure of Irish whisky. There is a custom known as drowning the Shamrockthat has been worn with pride all day, you put it in the last drink of the evening. A popular Irish toast is: May the roof above us never fall in and may we friends beneath it never fall out.
Dublin has a parade that attracts thousands of people, whil in Chigago the river is dyed green for a few hours. The biggest parade is normally held in New York, while the largest celebration in the southern hemisphere is in Sydney Australia.