A Green Moment in Time (Again)

“Way back in the olden days…” well, back in 2009, anyway, I admitted to being Irish and I shared a bit of the Irish legend and the shenanigans our family occasionally pursues to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The latter involve things like green-tinted milk and green cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches in school lunch boxes, green oatmeal porridge in the morning and perhaps even green mashed potatoes with green beans at dinner time. I’ve about outgrown that silliness, although on second thought, I made green cupcakes last year.

In honour of the day, I’ve brought back that blog post. I hope you enjoy it. No writing application today, just a Happy St. Patrick’s Day wish for everyone.

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‘Tis St. Patrick’s Day and I admit to wearing green. I could just as appropriately have chosen blue, mind you, as blue was the colour associated with Ireland until the mid-1700s. And non-Catholics might well choose orange. So why does green appear everywhere today?

Legend has it that St. Patrick chose a shamrock to help explain the concept of the Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people. As the habit of tucking a shamrock into one’s hatband became a common sign of either Irish nationalism or loyalty to the Roman Catholic faith, references to “the wearin’ o’ the green” began popping up. Trust the rest of the world to go overboard with turning all things green on March 17th. Even  the Chicago River is green today.

We do get carried away, in both sacred and secular circles, as we celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick. But it’s a wonderful excuse to share a bit o’ Blarney with friends. However I draw the line at hoisting a pint of green beer or stout. Just thinking about it makes me feel a little green around the gills!

Go n-eírí an bóthar leat.

(May the road rise with you.)

~  ~  ~


The Luck o’ the Irish, and other blessings

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As secular as Irish shenanigans may seem, there are some tenuous sacred roots to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. For instance, it’s said the Shamrock was used by St. Patrick to illustrate the principle of the Trinity to people he converted.

While the Shamrock is associated with all things Irish, it’s actually a native of South Africa. Officially its name is Oxalis Regnelli; it grows from a bulb and produces small white flowers. History suggests the Irish people were anything but lucky so where the connotation of Irish luck originated is unclear, unless it has something to do with finding the occasional four-lobed plant among the Shamrock’s usual three.

Irish blessings abound and my favourite has always been Go n-eírí an bóthar leat, but in light of the ongoing assault of earthquakes in Japan its translation doesn’t seem quite so appropriate this year — may the road rise with you – although its intent is well-meaning:

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Instead, I’ll raise a glass… mmm, maybe not. I’m not much for Guinness, so maybe it’ll be a mug of Irish coffee*… and offer the following to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.

May the soft winds freshen your spirit.

May the sunshine brighten your heart

May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you.

And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

~

*”Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.” [Alex Levine]

Éirinn go Brách 😉

A Green Moment in Time

‘Tis St. Patrick’s Day and I admit to wearing green. I could just as appropriately have chosen blue, mind you, as blue was the colour associated with Ireland until the mid-1700s. And non-Catholics might well choose orange. So why does green appear everywhere today?

Legend has it that St. Patrick chose a shamrock to help explain the concept of the Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people. As the habit of tucking a shamrock into one’s hatband became a common sign of either Irish nationalism or loyalty to the Roman Catholic faith, references to “the wearin’ o’ the green” began popping up. Trust the rest of the world to go overboard with turning all things green on March 17th. Even  the Chicago River is green today.

We do get carried away, in both sacred and secular circles, as we celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick. But it’s a wonderful excuse to share a bit o’ Blarney with friends. However I draw the line at hoisting a pint of green beer or stout. Just thinking about it makes me feel a little green around the gills!

Go n-eírí an bóthar leat.

May the road rise with you.