And a very Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!
I thought we could celebrate by recapping a bit of the history of the day, and the person. As usual, much of the info below is courtesy of Wikipedia, Rocco's approved source of information :)
Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland.J By then he had become a bishop, and his mission was to Christianise the Irish. (Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. ) He died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish Church. (remember the popular legend that he drove the snakes from Ireland? A euphemism for driving paganism out of the country).
Saint Patrick's feast day, as a kind of national day, was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In later times he became more and more widely known as the patron of Ireland. The first Saint Patrick's Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931 and was reviewed by the then Minister of Defence Desmond Fitzgerald.
The first Saint Patrick's Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009's five day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.
New York's first Saint Patrick's Day observance was similar in nature to that of Boston's. It was held on 17 March 1762 in the home of John Marshall, an Irish Protestant, and over the next few years informal gatherings by Irish immigrants were the norm. The first recorded parade in New York was by Irish soldiers in the British Army in 1766. Of coruse, it has now grown into the day-long celebration it is today, with national television coverage (NBC devotes practically an entire day to it), school marching bands, etc. Popular eating establishments such as Shannon Rose, Friday's, etc, offer green beer, and some places even offer green eggs! and, of coruse, everyone wears SOMETHIGN green today, even if they are not Irish (except me, sorry. No collars of any color for this bad boy kitty, although I do have a green ballie). The popular drink of the day besides green beer: IRISH COFFEE!
so there you have it! Have a Happy St. Patrick's and we will see you tomorrow.
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