Today is Saint Patrick’s Day… Sure, you might think it’s a day of four leaf clovers, the color green, Guinness beer and leprechauns but take a minute to learn a few core ideas behind this day of merriment.
To start, here’s how Answers.com introduces the holiday:
Had it not been for a band of Irish marauders in the fifth century, March 17 might’ve been plain old Maewyn’s Day — because Maewyn wouldn’t have changed his name to Patrick, and he likely wouldn’t have become a saint. In fact, it wouldn’t have been a Day at all.
But as it happened, a certain 16-year-old Welsh lad was kidnapped by those Irish marauders, and during the six years young Maewyn spent in servitude as a shepherd in Ireland he experienced a religious awakening, then spent years studying in a monastery. He took on a new name, Patrick, and a new calling — converting his countrymen to Christianity.
Ok, history lesson over… Here are some tips from the Answers.com folks on how to celebrate the day:
- Wear green
- Pin a shamrock to your hat
- Speak with a brogue
- Wear brogues
- Drink Irish beer and spirits
- Wish your friends and family “Top o’ the morning to ye” and every so often cry out “Erin go bragh!” (Ireland forever)
- If you’re a mayor, dye your town’s rivers green and paint your lane markers green.
Did you know?
- There are six cities in the US named Dublin. Some 34 million US residents claim Irish ancestry — rather more than the entire population of Ireland itself, which stands at about 6 million.
- Celts are pronounced kelts. Don’t be misled by the Boston Celtics basketball team, which is oddly pronounced seltics.
- Irish whiskey, as opposed to Scotch, is sweeter, smoother, and almost never peaty or smoky. It’s also spelled with an “e,” while Scotch is spelled “whisky.”
- Old Bushmills Distillery, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, licensed in 1608 by James I of England, is the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery.
- The word whiskey comes from an Irish Gaelic term meaning “water of life.”