By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Love of life, national pride, Celtic music and folklore are all parts of Irish heritage to be honored. And with them are blessings, good wishes, poems and toasts. Irish or not, get in the spirit and celebrate the day of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick on March 17th. ‘Tis the time to feel lucky! Called the Emerald Isle because of its lush green meadows from all of the seasonal rain, green is the national color of Ireland. Wear green, think green, be green! Plan a Regent Cruise around the British Isles to see all of its glories. Experience the ports of Dublin and Belfast at their best and create delicious memories with a corned beef meal, pint of beer or a measure of whisky. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Good Times, Good Friends, Good health to you and the luck of the Irish in all that you do!
SAIL: The British & Emerald Isles with REGENT! Here’s a happy wish when you go: “Green is the hills of Ireland and green they’ll always stay. Warm are the blssings wished for you and they’ll always be that way.”
SIP: Guinness—the famous Irish dark stout or Irish Whisky. On St. Patrick’s Day, 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide! Beer—dyed green for the day—is another option at different pubs and restaurants that celebrate. Irish whisky and Irish Coffee (coffee, cream and whisky) are also popular choices to sip.
SAVOR: Corned Beef and Cabbage with Boiled Potatoes. Originating in County Cork, “corned beef” means cooking beef in a pot and covering it with large “corns of salt” for preservation and flavor. The Irish were the biggest exporters of corned beef long before they left home to settle elsewhere. Cabbage and potatoes are regular staples to accompany the meat and thus the classic Irish meal was born, ideal on St. Patrick’s Day.
May you have a song in your heart, a smile on your lips and nothing but joy at your fingertips!
Fun Facts about St. Patrick’s Day:
Who is St. Patrick and why is March 17th St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron saint. Actually born in Britain, around 385 AD, he was a teenager from an affluent family who was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd sheep for seven years. He converted to Christianity while there and then a voice came to him in a dream telling him to escape back to Britain. After he reunited with his family, another dream later told him to return to Ireland as a priest to convert Irish to Christianity. He died on March 17th, 461. Now it is a national holiday in Ireland.
Why is the shamrock the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day?
According to folklore, when St Patrick was converting Irish to Christianity he used the 3 leaves of the shamrock to explain the 3 aspects of the trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Shamrocks, a member of the clover family, grow in abundance in Ireland and are a significant symbol of the country. Many consider the 3 leaves to represent luck from your past, to your present to your future. The ”four leaf clover” is exceptionally lucky because they are scarce and a shamrock with an extra leaf gives you extra luck!!
What’s with “the wearing of the green” on the day?
“The wearing of the green” began in the 17th century and referred to pinning shamrocks and green ribbons to your lapel. What was originally a political statement during the 1798 Irish Rebellion, the wearing of the green remains a nod to their nationality but has also now become a fun tradition to honor St. Patrick. He initially wore blue but changed to wearing green to match the color of the shamrocks he used for blessings that would create good will and luck in your life.
Did St. Patrick really ban snakes from Ireland?
Another St. Patrick miraculous claim is that he banned snakes from Ireland and drove the evil serpent of pagan ways out of the country. It is true that no snakes exist in Ireland but not because of St. Patrick! The truth is that snakes never migrated there because of the cold and icy ocean waters.
What about the lucky leprechaun?
A leprechaun is the most recognized mythical character in Irish storytelling. He is a magical fairy dressed as a miniature man in a green coat who keeps himself busy making shoes and storing away coins in hidden pots of gold placed at the end of the rainbow. Humans are always on the look out for leprechauns because should you be fortunate enough to capture one, he will grant you three lucky wishes in exchange for his release.
When was St. Patrick’s Day first celebrated in America?
It was first celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737 because it was home to the largest Irish immigrant community at the time. They created St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to remember their homeland. The Irish then spread to Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City. Today, over 34 million Americans claim Irish ancestry and celebrate nationwide.
Why the parades and are they all over the world?
Parades flourished because the fanfare was fun and highlighted the Irish love of legends and folklore. Dublin, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Sydney Australia and the Island of Montserrat in the Caribbean all have large Irish communities so the celebrations are lively and the parades are grande.
What is the most popular Irish toast?
“May the roof above you never fall in and may friends beneath it never fall out”.