SAint Patrick’s day

All things green, shamrocks, leprechauns and high mood with lots of alcohol. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. What makes it so popular and what is it in the first place?

First of all - Who is St Patrick?

Saint Patrick (c. 385 – c. 461) was a Christian missionary and Bishop in Ireland. But he was not originally Irish! He was born in Britain in the 4th century.

Patrick talks about himself in his work called the Declaration. Most of what we know about him, we know from this book. He tells us the story that Irish raiders kidnapped him when he was sixteen, and took him to Gaelic Ireland as a slave. He spent six years as a shepherd and during this time he found God. God told Patrick how to run away from slavery. 

So, Patrick wanted to dedicate his life to God and he became a priest. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary. The Declaration says that thousands of people followed him.

Of course, we have no way of knowing what is true in the Declaration and what is fiction. However, in the centuries after his death, many legends grew up around Patrick. Slowly but surely, he became Ireland’s primary saint, Ireland’s patron saint.

What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious and cultural holiday held on 17 March, the date when we believe Saint Patrick died. It became an official Christian holiday only in the early 17th century. Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland and a few other anglo-saxon territories, but it is the most widely celebrated national festival outside its original country.

The Irish and their ways might be popular, but not enought to make this day of celebrating Irish culture such a big business. There are public parades and festivals, Gaelic folk music and dance events, and dressimg up in green costumes. Sounds like fun, but where’s the main catch?

I think what makes St Patrick’s so popular is the following. The tradition of the 40-day fast (= eating very little and only specific foods) ending at Easter stops for St Patrick’s Day. So. do you share my opinion that this must be the secret behind this day becoming so popular so quickly across much of the Western world?

Why shamrock and why green?

They say that St. Patrick used the shamrock (or clover), which has three leaves, to explain the concept of the holy trinity to the pagan Irish. 3 was a very important number for the pagan Irish, so this symbol was like a bridge for them from pagan beliefs to Christianity. In modern times this symbol is often confused with the 4-leaf clover. However this is just a symbol of good luck with very different origins.

Today, we associate Ireland with the colour green. There is a legend from the 11th century, that tells a story about Goídel the green, ancestor of the Gaels (and so the Irish). A poisonous snake bit Goídel, but Moses was there to save him from death: he put his staff on the snakebite. This healed Goídel and this left a green mark on Goídel. Goídel’s children settled in Ireland, a land where there are no snakes. There is an allegory in which Patrick drove “snakes”, non-believers out of Ireland. 

However, Irealnd is in reality a very green island, it is often called “the Emerald Isle”.

In the early 20th century, there were cases when Irish people were punished legally for wearing green. When the Irish Free State was born in 1922, the government gave “green” orders: all post boxes had to be green and in 1924, the government introduced green Irish passports.

Leprechauns (little elves or fairies) wear green, too! Also, they cannot see this colour, so you can escape them when they want to pinch you. And they do want to! 

A bejegyzés szerzője

Szabó Kisanna vagyok. Az angol egészen kicsi korom óta az életem szerves része, csakúgy, mint az irodalom, az írás: irodalmár-nyelvtanár családból származom, s örököltem mind az érdeklődést, mind a motivációt. Éltem és tanultam az USA-ban és Nagy-Britanniában, számos nemzetközi művészeti és oktatási projektben dolgoztam - angolul.

A nyelvismeret átadásával az emberek kezébe hasznos eszközt adok, ezért is szeretek tanítani. A mondás nagyon találó, hogy „ahány nyelvet beszélsz, annyi ember vagy”. Hiszek az élményszerű nyelvoktatásban - ennek is köszönhetem kiváló eredményeimet és azt, hogy az óráim kitűnő hangulatban telnek. A leveltybooks-szal mindenki számára elérhető, izgalmas, érdekes, ugyanakkor tartós eredményeket hozó módját kínáljuk az angoltanulásnak – a nyelvtanulást, olvasásélményt egyesítve.