Cascade Title's Manager Message
On St. Patrick's Day -Sunday, March 17- millions of us will put on our green and celebrate the Irish with parades, good cheer, and perhaps ( I know I will) a pint of green beer. But not many of us St. Patrick's Day revelers have a clue about St. Patrick, the historical figure. Who exactly was this man behind St. Patrick's Day?
For starters, the real St. Patrick wasn't even Irish! I did not know that! He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family with a townhouse, a country villa, and plenty of slaves, and did you know that Patrick professed no interest in Christianity as a young boy? Not the type we would call a Saint at this point! At 16, Patrick's world turned very dark. He was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep as a slave in the chilly, mountainous countryside of Ireland for about seven years. It was a horrible time for him, but he got a religious conversion while he was there and became a very deeply believing Christian.
According to folklore, a voice came to Patrick in his dreams, telling him to escape. He found passage on a pirate ship back to Britain, where he was reunited with his family and wouldn't you know it, but the voice then told him to go back to Ireland! He then gets ordained as a priest from a bishop, and goes back and spends the rest of his life trying to convert the Irish to Christianity. Patrick's work in Ireland was tough as he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors. After he died on March 17, 461, Patrick was largely forgotten. Slowly, mythology grew around Patrick, and centuries later he was honored as the patron saint of Ireland.
According to St. Patrick's Day lore, Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Christian holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and today, St. Patrick's Day revelers wear a shamrock out of tradition. But people in Ireland hoping to wear an authentic shamrock are running low on luck since the wild-growing, three-leaf clover that some botanists consider the official shamrock, is an annual plant that germinates in the spring. Recently, Ireland has had some very harsh winters, affecting the plant's growth.
Another St. Patrick myth is the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland and it is true no snakes exist on the island today, but did you know they never did? Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else. Since snakes often represent evil in literature, and it was said "when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland and brought in a new age." The snake myth, the shamrock story, and other tales were likely spread by well-meaning monks centuries after St. Patrick's death.
Until the 1970s, St. Patrick's Day in Ireland was a minor religious holiday. A priest would acknowledge the feast day, and families would celebrate with a big meal, but that was about it. I was surprised to read that St. Patrick's Day was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans! Irish-American's originally celebrated St. Patrick's Day with banquets in places such as Boston, Massachusetts; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina. Sometime in the 19th century, St. Patrick's Day parades were flourishing, wearing the color green became a show of commitment to Ireland. Now, here is my favorite part! On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout brand, are consumed around the world, but on St. Patrick's Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints, and Joel here will do his best to help with that number!
Okay, I hope this has given you some fun conversation to enjoy with your favorite Irish drink! I would be amiss if I did not leave you with one final thought, how about an Irish Proverb?
"Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last"
Happy St. Patrick's Day to one and all!