ST. PATRICK’S DAY TRADITIONS
Are you ready to get your green on? Hi there. I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette news. Mark your calendar because Thursday, March 17th is THE day! Here in Shady Pines we love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with its shamrocks and all things Irish.
From leprechauns to the color green, find out how symbols we now associate with St. Patrick’s Day came to be. We’ll let our neighbors tell you about their favories and wait ’til you find out about one that Americans just made up!
I’m Ray Robinson and I really like the shamrock. I read that it was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the beginning of spring.
Later on, the shamrock would become a symbol of Irish pride. That happened when the English army started to take over Irish land and declare it for England.
Can you believe they even made laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of being a Catholic? So the Irish got really mad at the English and started wearing the shamrock as a symbol of their rich heritage.
Music is a big part of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. I’m Mayor Beauregard P. Fibbs and everyone in town knows I like Irish music.
From ancient days right up until now, the Irish pass along their religion, legend and history from one generation to the next through stories and songs.
As Ray just told us, after being conquered by the English, the Irish were not allowed to speak their own language. They turned to music to help them celebrate important events. It was their way of holding on to their heritage and history.
Today, I follow traditional Irish bands like The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. They still make music with instruments that have been used for centuries.
That includes the fiddle, the harp, the uilleann pipes (a sort of elaborate bagpipe), the tin whistle (a kind of flute that is actually made of nickel-silver, brass or aluminum) and the bodhran (an ancient type of framed-up-drum that was traditionally used in warfare rather than music.)
Do you know the story of the snakes? I’m Kimberly Dunworthy. I don’t like snakes but this story is really cool.
Legend has it that when St. Patrick came to Ireland he did something really big. You see, Patrick was a Catholic priest. As the story goes, it was during his mission in Ireland that St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop. Then, with only a wooden staff by his side, the powerful priest kicked all the snakes out of Ireland.
But that turned out to be a myth. It wasn’t true. In fact, Ireland is an island nation and was never home to any snakes. The so called, “banishing of the snakes,” was really just a way of explaining that little by little all religious beliefs that weren’t Christian faded away from Ireland.
Before you knew it, Christianity was restored. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized. The snakes represented the “other religious beliefs.”
Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.
These are the kinds of food details that Harold and Edna Sanders love to discuss. Each year, just like thousands of Irish Americans, Harold and Edna gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.
By the way, Edna will tell you, this is a tradition that is very American. A whole lot of Irish people fled their homeland for a better life in America.
Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money.
Harold discovered that the Irish learned about this cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors. And, that’s how the tradition of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day began!
THE BLARNEY STONE
I’m Scoop the Cub Reporter and I’m here to tell ya that the Blarney stone is one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions.
To find it you have to drive about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland, to the grounds of a castle. Before the pandemic, hundreds of tourists would visit Blarney Castle every day.
This castle is one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic. It’s not easy to get to the stone because that valuable slap of limestone is located way up high on the castle’s wall.
This year, visitors who will once again make the journey to this place will do it for one reason: to kiss the Blarney Stone. People think that kissing the stone will give them the “gift of the gab” (make them good at talking). I don’t need a Blarney Stone for that!
Anyway, when it’s your turn, you find out you have to get down and flip over onto your back while someone holds you.
That means you’re lying there with you head hanging over a wall and looking a long way down.
All this to kiss a stone. That’s why some people say it’s just, “Blarney!”
The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” I’m Rita Morena, Director of the Shady Pines Community Center. I love talking to kids about these little guys.
Belief in leprechauns goes a long way back in history when people in Ireland were known as Celtics. They believed in fairies. According to folklore, these were tiny men who dressed in green, had beards, smoked pipes and wore buckled shoes.
Leprechauns were known to be shoemakers who would sometimes pull pranks and make mischief.
They were secretive, too. To make sure no humans could take their gold, the leprechauns buried it in pots deep underground. People say when rainbows appear, they always end at a spot where some leprechaun’s pot of gold is buried.
Leprechauns were known to have magical powers to serve good or evil. If a human got near their pot of gold, legend has it, they would pull out all the stops to protect their treasure.
We hope you treasure your experiences this St. Patrick’s Day!
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