Thursday, March 16, 2017

May the wind always be at your back!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day; a day of celebration, good food and drink, parades and merriment around the world. What started as a religious feast day for the patron Saint of Ireland, has become a day of partying; a day where everyone is a “little bit Irish.”

How much do you really know about St. Patrick’s Day? The facts, the myths, the traditions. I did a little research and thought I would share a few interesting facts.

St. Patrick was not Irish! He was from Wales. At 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. At some point he escaped and it was only later in life that he returned to Ireland as a missionary. And guess what? The “wearing of the green” could’ve been the wearing of the blue. The color was originally linked to St. Patrick. Green only came into the picture after it was linked to the Irish Independence movement. One legend suggests that revelers thought wearing green would make a person invisible to leprechauns who would “pinch” those not wearing green. Good luck with that. Oh, and by the way, did you know it takes 40 pounds of green dye to color the Chicago River for a few hours?

Corned beef and cabbage? Originally it was more like Irish bacon and potatoes. Irish immigrants to America found the cost of the bacon and potatoes prohibitive. Corned beef and cabbage was a more affordable option.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade happened in New York City in 1766. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government decided to start holding a parade in Dublin to promote tourism. And the tradition of drinking green beer? That didn’t come from Ireland either. Thanks to the United States and Canada for that one. In fact, until the late 1970’s, pubs in Ireland were not permitted to be open on St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness Irish stout is considered the drink of the day on St. Patty’s Day and is it estimated that three million pints are downed on the day. A 2012 estimate figured that about $245 million is spent on beer for St. Patrick’s Day.

That brings me to the real point for today. Be safe. Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is great; have fun, revel in the day’s activities but do it safely and responsibly. It’s better for everyone that way.

I leave you with this thought – “As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.”


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted by MJ Thomas

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