Friday, March 17, 2006
Hiking Leprechaun © Artie Romero and W. Kirk Kennedy
Hmm... Actually, I'd be tempted to call this edition "Saints But No Angels" - or "Saints & Leprechauns"?!? But I'll abstain from that...
Just as with St.Valentine's Day, -which mixtures three possible saints, angels of love and pagan myths to concoct a so-called "holiday"- St.Patrick's Day is a mish-mash of various ingredients that perhaps should NOT mix...? A saint's life, some folklore and those pesky leprechauns make up those "ingredients" this time... Take out the leperchaun (purposeful typo there - a first in the history of TLB Prime!) and I'm in! The pot of gold is but a "get rich quick scam" too - the devil comes up with them all the time himself...
Some of the other folklore, myths or legends surrounding the Irish are quite fascinating indeed though... The uncanny ability to guzzle vast amounts of brewskies must be a talent that goes very much appreciated in any tavern in the ole country... Likewise, and truly to be envied, is the fabled Luck of the Irish! Anyone who survives the Potato Famine has got to have good ol' Lady Luck squarely on his side, I say! I am not sure though that the best embodiment of that uncommon luck is... a cat? They may have nine lives, but still... Cats aren't so lucky the way I see them - strays who die of hunger, abuse or end up as roadkill... If ol' whiskers there has a loving master, such as is obviously the case for "Bruiser" there (below) - maybe then... MAYBE... luck is on its side! Otherwise... forget about it!
Although Bruiser is to my knowledge a Mancunian cat, he certainly has something of the luck of the Irish. He has risen from being a shy scruffy stray who lived behind my dustbin to the famous artist's model that he is today. This card features many St Patrick Day symbols, but I'm afraid that I didn't have the space for a harp! - artist, Angela Cater
© Angela Cater
Hmm... a Mancunian cat, eh? Tis The Manchurian Candidate's animal de compagnie?
No wonder it is a spooky creature then! *lol*
Okay, maybe I am not a "cat person"... even though I have co-habitated with a feline felon for years now! But that is another story...
Ultimately, all I want is to decry the lack of focus, once more, on the real center stage star of the day - in this case, St.Patrick himself! And, on March 16th (which, on top of being "Everything You Do Is Right Day", was also St.Urho's Day!) it is another problem altogether - no one seems to know who St.Urho is or what he did! Granted, in both cases (as shown in the main link today) some facts seem to be more legend than actual fact... but still! St.Patrick existed - he was as pious and admirable a man as St.Anthony of the Desert and St.Antonio de Padua, to name two extremely good examples (coincidentally, both previously "spotlighted" in this series too - check out the archives!)
As for St.Urho... well, decide for thyselves, people!
Note though that the latter hails from Finland, if you do not know - however, strangely enough, he seems to have had his "holiday" originate in Minnesota, USA!
Maybe the Saku Koivu fan club cares as much for St.Urho - the saint who did to locust (grasshoppers is a less intimidating designation for the little miscreants) what the Pied Piper did to rats... and what St.Patrick did to snakes, of course!
If only world leaders today were HALF as useful...
Labels: Saints And Angels
Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God." Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age.
As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name. There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D.
His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the "evil eye." Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city
Why Saint Patrick's Day?
Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations.
The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th.
Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.
In American and Canadian cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!
The food or the submersible?
However, March 18 tops that as Supreme Sacrifice Day!
All part of the bizarre. lesser-known so-called holidays found listed on this site: host page
This very same site divulges that "March is . . . . Foot Health Month, Humorists Are Artists Month, National Furniture Refinishing Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Noodle Month, and National Peanut Month"
It is so good to know that we can multi-task like that, on any given month!
And check out some of the upcoming days, right ahead of us, this very month... March 30th will be a special day for many, from the looks of it!