History of Irish Holiday Shows Cultural Balance

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a holiday associated with the color green, leprechauns and shamrocks.

It’s a day where suddenly the entire world has turned into Emerald City with everyone wearing green.

However, most people who don the color have no idea what the day is truly about. Some don’t even know that St. Patrick was, in fact, a real human being.

Patrick was born in either Scotland or England in the latter half of the Fourth Century. According to theholidayspot.com, he was kidnapped by Welsh pirates while he was a boy, and`he was sold into slavery in Ireland.

He was there for six years before he escaped to Britain. He later went to France and joined a monastery.

He trained for 12 years before he became a bishop.

Patrick had a dream that God would return to Ireland and convert the pagans into Christians. He died on March 17 in 461. Ever since, the Irish have celebrated the feast day of St. Patrick. One of the legends surrounding him is that he used the three-leafed shamrock to teach the trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Other traditions that surround the holiday are the shamrock and the leprechaun. The shamrock has been associated with the Irish rebels, according to theholidayspot.com.

In the time of Queen Victoria, it was forbidden to wear the symbol. Today, the symbol has been long integrated into the British tradition.

On St. Patrick’s Day, a royal family member will present shamrocks to the Irish Guards regiment of the British Army.

The leprechaun is a 2-foot tall man who is dressed like a shoemaker.

He has treasure that is usually a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. If caught he is forced to share his gold with his capturer.

St. Patrick’s Day has been around for more than 1,000 years. It is a day for Irish people to celebrate their heritage. Many people with Irish heritage are proud of where they came from and have traditions surrounding the holiday. Non-leprechauns also enjoy celebrating the holiday.

Megan Pawlikowski, a senior sport and exercise major, said that she still wears green and her clover earrings. Her mom also has a special dinner for the holiday.

“My mom would make stuffed cabbage or cabbage and noodles,” Pawlikowski said. “I usually buy a shamrock shake from McDonald’s close to the day too.”

Anthony “T.J.” Rotello, a senior physician assistant major and Clarissa Schneider, a junior communication arts major, are both from Italian families.

Schneider never really celebrated the holiday. However, when she came to school in Erie, she found that St. Patrick’s Day means a lot to the city.

“I was actually surprised about how enthusiastic the people of Erie are about the holiday,” Schneider said.

Rotello said the holiday does not mean much to him and does not really celebrate it, either. However, he knows his Irish friends will be excited for March 17.

“It does serve a significance for those who are Irish,” Rotello said.

Then, there are people who really just don’t care about St. Patrick’s Day – like Ben Gray, a junior mechanical engineering major.

“St. Patrick’s Day means nothing to me, other than it’s another day,” Gray said. “I enjoy watching people celebrate the holiday and the bagpipe quality declining as the night proceeds.”

For Irish decedents it is a day to celebrate their heritageand remember how proud they are of their history, both here in America and overseas in Ireland.

But whether or not you are Irish, celebrate the holiday safely.

This article was originally published in the March 9 edition of The Gannon Knight and was written by Caitie Ryan.

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