Well in honor of Saint Patrick's Day and being that i am Irish, i thought i would share some interesting facts and tidbits about this holiday and Saint Patrick himself.
Now we all know Saint Patrick's Day is to honor the patron saint of Ireland, and that it lands on March 17th every year. But did you know that he was not born irish? Though he was a very integral part of the irish heritage. He was born around 390 A.D and was born in either Scotland or Roman England (its not for certain though). His real name was Maewyn Succat, though Patricius was his Romanicized name,he was later came to be familiar as Patrick.
He was sold into slavery as a boy to Ireland and spent many many years in captivity until he escaped. He later joined a monastery and became a bishop traveling the world but kept feeling called back to Ireland and with the Pope's blessings he returned to Ireland and spent some 20 years setting up monasteries, schools and churches, By the end of the 7th century he had become a legendary figure.
It's said that he used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity; which refers to the combination of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence its strong association with his day and name.
But i think the more well know legend was that, Saint Patrick had put the curse of God on venomous snakes in Ireland. And he drove all the snakes into the sea where they drowned.
But did you know that the first reference of the Shamrock did not even happen til 1571 in regards to Saint Patrick's Day? It was used as badge to be worn on the lapel on the Saint's Feast Day. TheShamrock was used as an emblem by the Irish Volunteers in the era of Grattan's Parliament in the 1770's, before '98 and The Act of Union. So rebellious did the wearing of the Shamrock eventually appear, that in QueenVictoria's time Irish regiments were forbidden to display it. So today, on St. Patrick's Day, a member of the British Royal Family presents Shamrock to the Irish Guards regiment of the British Army.
So what about the Leprechaun you might ask? How did that come about... well the Leprechaun is actually an Irish Fairy! He is supposedly a small old man (around 2ft tall) often dressed like an old shoemaker with a cocked hat and leather apron. Of course over time, we think of him dressed more in green than an apron! So according to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone, and pass the time making shoes. Also, if you are to ever catch one, its said they possess a hidden pot of gold. The legend also says you supposedly can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. But if caught he's a tricky little devil and he can vanish at the blink of an eye and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost.
The Blarney Stone is another symbol often thought of on this day. It is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney). The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.
I hope you all werent too bored by all this, i myself kind of found it interesting to know where these symbols and legends came from. But i hope you all have a really fun, safe and Happy Saint Patrick's Day! And if you catch that tricky Leprechaun, don't let him out of your sight!!