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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
St. Patrick And His Day
Much of St. Patrick's history has been shrouded in the misty past. "He is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland; triumphing over the pagan Druids and their supernatural powers and using a shamrock to explain the Christian mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Scholars say there likely never were snakes in Ireland, and as far as the Druids and Shamrock used as a teaching tool no one seems to have discovered those truths. But it is legend.

Patrick (389-461) was raised in a noble family and as a Roman citizen in the 4th century. He was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish pirates as a youth turning to God and Catholicism to salve his despair. After six years he escaped and returned home to the celebration of his parents. To their consternation to vowed to return to minister to his pagan captors and did rising to become a Bishop.

His travels and travails grew and became legendary. His celebration predated the Irish immigration to America when the potato famine decimated the Island. The first St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in the American colonies in 1737.

The Great Potato famine (Irish: an Gorta Mór, IPA: [?n? 'g???t?? 'm?o???], the Great Hunger[; an Drochshaol, [?n? 'd???x?hi?l?], the Bad Life) was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 during which the island's population dropped by 20 to 25 percent. Approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland - many to America. The plight struck Europe in 1840 but Ireland where the potato was a staple of life was a tragedy.

Always religious many Irish turned to faith when they had little else. St. Patrick was even more revered.

St. Patrick's death is celebrated on March 17 with the wearing of the green as a symbol of Catholic faith and as sharp contrast to the hated Orange worn by the Protestants in the north. It is no accident the Irish flag is a tri-color of orange, white and green.
 
In America things did not go easy for the Irish immigrants and many a Paddy lost his job when celebrating and not working on March 17. But by the Civil War there were at least a half dozen Generals who fought. Since there have been many of Irish heritage such as: William Randolph Hearst, John L. Sullivan, Father Francis Duffy, William "Wild Bill" Donavan, Sam Houston, John Ford, John Huston, Grace Kelly, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby and Spencer Tracy, and the list goes on.It was left to an American name Olcott whose granddaughter lives near by to write "When Irish Eyes Are Shining" what some call the Irish anthem.

It is up to each of us to wear the green or not but, there is little doubt that the Irish and St. Patrick will have their day and green beer an whiskey will flow as giant stories are told.
Posted at 08:43 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)


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