Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Happy St. Patricks Day!

My family is Irish. Full blown (well, except for the Ashkenazi Jew I married, and the little half Jewish babies we made/are making!) And for us, St. Patricks day is a big deal.

Did you know that the whole snake ridding thing is just a myth?

St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland. When he was 16 he was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders and was held captive for six years. Then, Mr. Smarty Pants Patrick escaped from his captivity and walked 200 miles from County Mayo to the coast, where eventually escaped to Britain.

Pause- homeboy walks for 200 miles as an escaped prisoner and no one can catch him? He was WALKING.

Ok- so. So now St. Patrick is in Britain and he has this dream revelation telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He studies for fifteen years (dedication?), becomes ordained as a priest, and returns to Ireland to live with Irish that are already Christians while trying to convert those that are not.

This is where we get the Celtic cross. And how many of you have a Celtic cross tattooed on you somewhere? Do you know where it came from?

Instead of obliterating the Irish culture in his teaching of Christianity to the Irish, St. Patrick tried to incorporate the culture and language into his lessons on Christianity. So, he imposed the symbol of the sun, one that the farmers of Ireland knew well, onto the Christian cross- tada! A Celtic cross.

So there were no snakes, and somewhere along the line in America it became all about green beer and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Which is cool. In Ireland it is celebrated by going to Mass, and is a Holy Obligation Day. Whoooaaaa. They celebrate by cooking up some Mutton
Bacon and Cabbage
Colcannon (one of my favorites)
Soda Bread (a staple here in the Danger home)
or Brown Bread

One of the coolest things about the Irish culture is their myth and lore, transferred for so many years by the oral tradition before they were ever put onto paper. I was read these stories as a kid, and I still read them now- to myself and to my own kids. I can remember my Grandma Catherine (one of like 17 Catherines in my family! No joke) telling them to us all at holidays and Sundays after Mass. She would always speak to us in Gaelic so that we wouldn’t forget the language, and she would tell us over and over again what it was like on her farm “back home”, what the boat trip was like over, how my Grandpa came to get her so he could marry her, all of it. I loved it. I miss it. I try to tell all of these to my kids too, so that they will have the same memories.
Here is a link from the History Channel on St. Patricks Day.

And here is a link for Irish Mythology from Wikipedia.

Lastly, here is a link from Shaw University on Irish Literature, Mythology, Folklore, and Drama.

Even though it is not about conversion anymore, or any religion at all actually, people still celebrate because of the tradition. My family and I still celebrate, so that is what we will be doing tonight.

I hope you and yours enjoy your St. Patricks Day!



Anonymous said...

Hahaha My grandmas name was Catherine

McDaddy O'Dangerhanigan-Murphy said...

And just to bring it full circle...They don't eat corned beef and cabbage in Ireland because the corned beef was referred to the Irish immigrants by the Jewish (circle complete) Deli owners because it was cheaper then bacon which the immigrants could not afford. Cured meats was certainly mastered by the Jewish Deli owners so they took their advice. So Corned Beef and Cabbage is actually a wonderfully Irish/Jewish American Dish!!
Happy St. Pats Day Honey!!!

Cristine said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Thanks for the history of it... I had no idea! :)

gitz said...

I feel so close to you right now.

From one Irish freckled girl to another... :)

musicjunkie said...

I think it's awesome that you posted this. I can't tell you how many people "celebrating" St. Patty's I've asked about the history and all I get is blank stares.

Anonymous said...

happy st. patty's!! i celebrating by sucking down my FIFTH shamrock shake of the month. very bad....i know.

Bellini Valli said...

Looks like you celebrated with gusto!!!!

J.Danger said...

Tay tay- one holiday (when the whole fam is there!) someone called the house and asked for Catherine. Are you kidding me?! Which one?!

Honey- I knew there was a reason I loved deli so much!

Cristine- :)

Gitz- I know! Long lost sisters or something!

Ana- Pathetic, I know.

Booklineandsinker- your relentless advertising for the Shamrock shake prompted my husband to go out to THREE separate McDonalds to get one!

Val- always do!

Gentle Reader said...

I'm of Scottish and Scotch-Irish descent, and I married a Jew, too, so we're having corned beef sandwiches with (cabbage) coleslaw for our St. Patrick's day repast :)

Cara said...

cool stories! I love to celebrate St. Patty's day, American style :)

Anonymous said...

This was a great history lesson!! I didn't really know any of the story behind St. Patrick's Day. In fact, I don't really notice the holiday and usually wind up pinched a hundred times bc I forgot to wear green!!! I'll take better notice now that I read this!!!