Word Echoes from SANZ: “St. Patrick’s Day”
Written by Helewise Arends on March 15, 2018
Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March –
the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
It is widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world,
esp. in the UK, North America, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, dancing
céilidhs(Irish traditional music sessions), special foods and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.
More of the effort is made to use the Irish language, esp. in Ireland,
where the week of St. Patrick’s Day is “Irish language week”.
Lenten restrictions are lifted for the day and the custom of ‘drowning or wetting the shamrock’
is popular where the shamrock is pit into the bottom of the cup, which is then filled with whiskey, beer or cider.
The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.
St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity to pagan Irish.
The wearing of the “St. Patrick’s Day Cross’ was also a popular custom in Ireland until the early 20th century.
These were a Celtic Christian cross made of paper that was “covered with silk or ribbon of
different colours and a bunch or rosette of green silk in the centre.”
Interesting facts of St. Patrick’s Day:
*Saint Patrick didn’t wear green. His colour was “Saint Patrick’s blue”.
The colour green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day after it was
linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
*Despite his Irish notoriety, Saint Patrick was British. He was born to Roman
parents in Scotland or Wales in the late 14th century.
*Saint Patrick was born “Maewyn Succat” but changed his name to
“Patricius” after becoming a priest.
In Chicago, the Plumbers Local 110 union dyes the river Kelly green.
The dye lasts for around 5 hours.
*On or around St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish taoiseach or prime minister,
presents the U.S. president with a crystal bowl of live shamrocks as a symbol
of the close ties between the 2 countries.
*It is tradition to visit the Blarney stone on St. Patrick’s Day –which is set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower and
that those who kiss the block of limestone are said to receive the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney).
Enjoy the revelry of St. Patrick’s Day and raise a toast to a
BLOGGER: HELEWISE ARENDS