St. Patrick's Day
Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, it has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.
I have a special affinity for St. Patrick’s day as I am part Irish (Scottish and English make up the other parts) and also my mother’s father, my mother and my sister and my aunt were all born on March17th.
New York City hosted the first St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17th, l762 featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. The parade has become an annual event with President Harry S. Truman attending his very own self in 1948.
Congress has proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995 and the sitting president issues a proclamation each year.
Now for a little history lesson. Naomh Padraig (c 387-17 March 493) was a Romanized Celt and Christian Missionary who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland.
When he was about 16 he was captured from Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the church, he returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked and there is no evidence of any link between Patrick and any known church building.
By he eighth century he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish Monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.
St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) is celebrated both in and outside of Ireland, as both a liturgical and non-liturgical holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation and outside of Ireland, it can be a celebration of Ireland itself.
St. Patrick is also credited with banishing snakes from the island and although evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes the supposition is the snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place.
Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3 leafed-clover, using it highlight the Christian belief of three divine persons in the one God (as opposed to the Ariian belief that was popular in Patrick’s time.
Having digested all that the main thing that seems to be celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day is drinking green beer, listening to Irish music and a general feeling of good will towards all men and, of course, women.
On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish and many restaurants and bars have a special celebration of this day which to most Irish is bigger than Christmas.
Chili Bang Bar is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party and I am sure many other restaurants and bars right here in our own Ajijic, Lake Chapala will not let this special day go unmarked.
For me it is a poignant reminder of my beautiful mother who was extremely proud to share her birthday with her father and daughter and every Irish person in the world.