Thursday, March 12, 2009

guest blogger camille: a traditional st. patricks day

A good friend of mine tells her children the origins of Halloween with her All Hallow's Eve Banner hanging above, she bakes cinnamon rolls for St. Lucia Day and her daughter loves to dance with a Nutcracker to the ballet music. I love how she takes the time to make holidays not only fun, but also to learn more about the culture and origin of the country and holiday. I decided to try it myself this St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick's Day is the celebration of their country in Ireland. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the late 300s in Britian but at the age of 16 he was taken into Ireland and sold into slavery. After six years of slavery he escaped and left Ireland to become a priest. Despite his suffering in Ireland he returned and brought Christianity to many people. He was believed to have died on March 17th, 460 - hence the day of celebration on the 17th of March.

We all have heard about Leprechauns who hide their gold, perhaps at the end of a rainbow. Traditionally the Leprechaun is a male fairy whose profession is a shoemaker. He makes shoes for other fairies and they pay him in gold. Traditionally they were very cranky. The connection with St. Patrick's Day was originally through a 1959 Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People which showed a non-traditional Irish Leprechaun who was very cheerful. Leprechauns were not traditionally connected with St. Patrick's Day in Ireland because there
it is a religious holiday. The first parade was in America in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched down the streets of New York City. It wasn't until 1995 that Ireland began celebrating with parades and fireworks.

The great thing about St. Patrick's Day is that you don't have to be Irish to celebrate! This year Lucky the Leprechaun will be making a visit to our house leaving some chocolate gold coins.

St. Patrick's Day falls during lent but the restrictions against meat are lifted for the day so that they can eat the traditional meal of corned beef (or bacon) and cabbage. I am making a traditional Irish feast of corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread. I have had it at my friend's house before and it was very good. The food network has a whole section of St. Patrick's Day recipes ranging from traditional to simply green - you can find them here.

There are lots of parades this weekend you can find out if there is one near you here.
Also, if you are interested in reading more about Ireland, its history, or Saint Patrick the history channel has a great informational page on it here.


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