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Everything You Need to Know About Saint Patrick's Day

Updated on August 6, 2013

The Celebration of Beer, Leprechauns and Colour Green

Recently Saint Patrick's Day has become a more and more popular holiday not only in Ireland, but throughout the entire World. Maybe because people love Irish beer and like wearing green or just because they need an excuse to party and have great time. To each their own, but since the celebration of Saint Patrick's Day dates back to 9th century I think it is appropriate to know why and how it all began and what has kept it going.

March 17th - Saint Patrick's Day
March 17th - Saint Patrick's Day

The Basics

When Is Saint Patrick's Day Celebrated?

Saint Patrick's Day, or as the Irish call it Lá Fhéile Pádraig, is celebrated on March 17th on the anniversary of Saint Patrick's death. It has been celebrated since the 9th century, but was not placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church until 1600s. Since then Saint Patrick's Day has been holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland.

During certain solemnities, such as The Holy Week or Palm Sunday, the church calendar avoids the observance of saints' feasts thus moving them outside those periods. In 1940 the celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was moved to April 3rd to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday and in 2008 it was officially observed on March 14th, while the secular celebration still took place on March 17th. The good news is that Saint Patrick's Day will not have to be moved because of the Holy Week until the year 2160 :)

The Basics

Who Was Saint Patrick?

In short, Saint Patrick ( * c. 387, + c. 460 or c. 492) was a Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland who is also known as the "Apostle of Ireland" and is one of the three primary patron saints of the island (the other two Saints being Brigid and Columba).

Little is known about his life. Only two letters that are believed to be written by him still exist (Declaration and Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus) and in one of them - the Declaration, there is a short passage on his life and mission. Here is a quick recap of what he wrote.

He was born in Roman Britain at Banna Venta Berniae in modern times sometimes identifined as Glannoventa or Ravenglass in Cumbria. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. When he was around sixteen he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave and worked there as a herdsman for six years. He writes that he prayed every day and with it his faith grew. After six years he heard a voice telling him he would soon go home and that his ship was ready. He fled his master and travelled to a port two hundred miles away where he boarded a ship and after various adventures finally returned home.

A few years later he had a vision in which he got a call back to Ireland. In his letter he wrote:

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish.' As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea - and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."

He returned to Ireland to fulfill his mission. He baptised thousands of people, ordained new priests to lead them and converted many women to become nuns.

There are several stories of Saint Patrick's death, but most commonly accpeted is that Saint Patrick died on March 17th 460 A.D. at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. The tombstone can be seen on the reputed burial place, but it has never been proven whether he really lies there or not.

The Basics - Legends and Symbols Connected to Saint Patrick

  • SHAMROCK - The legend says Saint Patrick used shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to people, which is why it is considered the central symbol of Saint Patrick's Day.

    It had been seen as sacred in pre-Christian times as the color and shape were thought to represent rebirth and eternal life. Three was also the number of Goddesses of ancient Ireland - Brigid, Ãriu, and Morrigan.

  • THE BANISHMENT OF ALL SNAKES FROM IRELAND - The absence of snakes in Ireland raised the legend that they had all been banished from the island by Saint Patrick. No matter how much we would like to believe that this is true, the evidence does not support the legend. Natural historians, sadly, say that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes, so there was nothing for Saint Patrick to banish.
  • THE WOODEN STICK GROWS INTO A TREE - Saint Patrick is thought to have carried an ash wood walking stick or a staff wherever he went evangelising. He stuck it into the ground and took it with him when he was done. It is said that in the place now known as Ashpatria (The Ash of Patrick) the message took so long to get through to the people that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to continue his journey.

So I Hear You Like Shamrock - Here It Is in Any Form or Size Your Heart Desires

For you, for your honey, for your home and even FOR YOUR DOG :)

Leprechauns Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day
Leprechauns Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day

The Basics

Why is Saint Patrick's Day Celebrated?

Saint Patrick's Day is associated with everything Irish - anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. For those who celebrate the day for its intended meaning it is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. As it is a religious holiday many people attend mass before other celebrations begin. Apart from restaurants and pubs all other businesses close on the March17th.

Let's Celebrate! - And Celebrate It Properly!

Flat SHamrock Papercraft
Flat SHamrock Papercraft

Saint Patrick's Day for Children

Easy Peasy Stuff Crafty Little Hands

RAINBOW STREAMER

You will need:

- Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers

- A paper plate for each child

- Scissors

- Stapler

1. Cut the center out of a paper plate.

2. Cut long pieces of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers. Each streamer

should be about two to three feet long.

3. Staple a rainbow of streamers onto the paper plate.

VOILA! :) You now have a rainbow streamer to help you celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.

-

STAND-UP SHAMROCK

You will need:

- Green cardstock or cardboard from a cereal box (or other stiff paper)

- A tube from a roll of toilet paper

- Green paint

- Brush

- Scissors

- Optional: glitter, markers, googly eyes, etc.

1. Cut the toilet paper tube in half, creating a short cylinder (roughly 2 inches tall). Each stand-up shamrock

needs half a tube.

2. On the half-tube, cut two 1/2 inch slits, one on each side (this is where you will insert the paper

shamrock).

3. Using stiff cardboard (for example, from a cereal box), cut out a large shamrock.

4. Paint the shamrock and the tube green. Let them dry.

5. When the paint is dry, add decorations to the shamrock if you like (for example, details made with

markers, glitter, googly eyes, etc.).

Insert the shamrock into the slits in the tube and you're done :)

-

FLAT SHAMROCK PAPERCRAFT

You will need:

- 3 paper plates for each child

- Green paint

- A strip of cardboard

- Brush

- Glue

- Optional: glitter, markers, googly eyes, etc.

1. Glue three paper plates together and cut each of them in the shape of a shamrock (see the picture above)

2. Glue the shamrock with its 'stem'.

3. Paint the plates and the strip of cardboard green and let dry.

4. When the paint is dry, add decorations to the shamrock if you like.

Let's Celebrate Some More - Saint Patrick's Day From Head to Toe

It is said that eating corned beef with cabbage on St. Patrick's Day brings good luck throughout the year. One reason more to try this yummy recipe :)

Serving Size

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 1/2 C white onion
  • chopped
  • 1 C celery
  • chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • minced
  • 8 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 C carrots
  • chopped
  • 4 C cabbage
  • coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t parsley flakes
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 2 1/2 C cooked corned beef
  • chopped
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/4 t salt

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a kettle placed over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and celery and stir to coat with the butter.
  3. Cook 8 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender, stiring often.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Pour the chicken broth into the kettle.
  6. Carefully stir in the carrots and cabbage.
  7. Add in the bay leaf, parsley, thyme and pepper and stir to incorporate.
  8. Bring the soup to a steady boil.
  9. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the kettle.
  10. Allow the soup to simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Up the heat to medium then stir in the corned beef.
  12. As the soup begins to boil carefully add in the tomatoes.
  13. When the soup has returned to a steady boil reduce the heat again to medium low.
  14. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle in the salt and stir to combine.
Cast your vote for Luck O' the Irish Kettle Soup
St. Paddy's Leg of Lamb
St. Paddy's Leg of Lamb

St. Paddy's Leg of Lamb

Add some mashed potatoes and cabbage with apples to the meal and pamper your taste buds.

Serving Size

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • minced
  • 1 1/2 t dried rosemary
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 (5 lb.) leg of lamb

Instructions

  1. Pour the lemon juice into a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in the minced garlic, rosemary and thyme.
  3. Add the salt and pepper and whisk again to completely combine the ingredients.
  4. Place the oven temperature on 325 and allow the oven to heat up.
  5. Rub the mixture over the entire leg of lamb.
  6. Place a wire rack into a deep baking pan.
  7. Place the leg of lamb on the rack fat side up.
  8. Roast the lamb for 2 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reaches between 145 and 165 degrees.
Leprechaun Nibblers
Leprechaun Nibblers

Serving Size

Serves: 18 cookies

Leprechaun Nibblers

  • 1/4 C unsalted butter
  • room temperature
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 T egg
  • well beaten
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C + 1 t flour
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 1/4 C of confectioners' sugar
  • 1 T + 1 t powdered egg whites
  • 3 T water
  • 4 drops green food coloring

Instructions

  1. Place the butter into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
  4. Place the flour into a sifter.
  5. Add the baking powder and salt to the sifter.
  6. Sift the ingredients into the bowl with the butter mixture.
  7. Place the mixer speed on low and mix until the dough is well blended.
  8. Lightly flour a flat surface and turn the dough onto the surface.
  9. Place a little flour on your hands and knead the dough gently for 30 seconds.
  10. Shape the dough into a round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
  11. Remove the chilled dough and allow it to set at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  12. Allow the oven to heat to 350 degrees while cutting the cookies.
  13. Very lightly spray a cookie sheet.
  14. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface and on a rolling pin.
  15. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness, turning the dough as needed and adding flour to the surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
  16. Use a shamrock cookie cutter to cut the dough.
  17. Place the cut cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
  18. Bake 8 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown.
  19. Remove and allow to cool 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  20. Place the confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl.
  21. Add the powered egg whites and toss to combine.
  22. Whisk the water into the mixture until the icing is smooth.
  23. Add the food coloring and gently stir to color the icing.
  24. Ice one side of each cookie with the icing.
  25. Set the cookies back on the wire rack and allow the icing to harden slightly before serving.

Make Your Table Shine For the Celebration

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    • Lilie profile image
      Author

      Lilie 4 years ago

      @goldenrulecomics: Tnx, let me know if >you try any of them ;)

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      Those look like nice recipes!