(from twitter)

The absence of snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that they had all been banished by St. Patrick chasing them into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill.  However, all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes.  Water has surrounded Ireland since the end of the last glacial period, preventing snakes from slithering over; before that, it was blanketed in ice and too chilly for the cold-blooded creatures.

Scholars believe the snake story is an allegory for St Patrick’s eradication of pagan ideology.

The snake was the symbol of the Celts and their spiritual elite, the Druids - who inhabited the island of Ireland long before the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century AD.  When Patrick arrived, the only “pesky and dangerous creatures” that St Patrick wished to cast away were the native Celts.   

Since snakes often represent evil in literature, "when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland [and] brought in a new age," said classics professor Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa.

An Image depicting St Patrick casting the snakes into the sea.

An Image depicting St Patrick casting the snakes into the sea. 

St Patrick features in many stories in the Irish oral tradition and there are many customs connected with his feast day.  Over the centuries, these traditions have been given new layers of meaning – the symbolic resonance of the St Patrick figure stretches from that of Christianity’s arrival in Ireland to an identity that encompasses everything Irish. (the above from ancient-origins.net)

Today is also my mother's birthday. Her nickname was Pat. Happy St. Pat's Day! as our family would irreverently say. My mom would be 102 today. Every year she'd receive dozens of birthday/Happy St. Patrick's Day cards from all over the globe. (She never ate green cake or drank green beer.) Happily being the center of attention, she really sparkled on this day. You are missed, Mom.

My father-in-law turns 88 today, too. Happy Birthday! I'm lucky to have found such a lovely family as my husband's, 'Dad' is one big reason why.

Some say St. Patrick's Day usurps the much older celebration of Spring/equinox/the goddess Ostara/Eostre, some say no, that's Easter that usurps the ancient pagan return of fertility to the land celebration. Others say there is little evidence of specifically any Eostre celebration traditionally held in Spring (pre-19th C....although bonfire festivals in Spring are ancient...) to be usurped by either.

Some say four leaf clovers bring you luck.

Some are known to wear orange today and loathe the very name of St. Patrick....

....

Personally, I just like a good Irish blessing; there are a few, one of my favorites includes tea (this blessing also has an alternate last line, I prefer this one):

May you always have...
Walls for the winds 
A roof for the rain 
Tea beside the fire 
Laughter to cheer you 
Those you love near you 
And your heart is at peace.

Whatever your take on this day....

Happy Saturday?!

Views: 148

Comment by Anna Herrington on March 17, 2018 at 8:43am

I don't own anything green to wear. 

The garden is pretty nice, though....

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 17, 2018 at 9:19am

I've never had green beer, but I've had my share of irishmen.  I've raised a couple of halflings.  I love them dearly...the irish have a way.  I should put up my brooklyn irish poem...I think I might.

I have a green turtleneck but it's not comfortable and at this stage of my life I've decided to wing it in black and leave it be.

erin go bragh!

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 17, 2018 at 9:27am

I don't think there is ANY doubt that various religions usurpt the significant celebrations of others as a means to gain "believers".  Christmas is a good esample.

Anyways, Happy Birthday to Pat where ever she may be (I like to think she and Suzy are sitting on a cloud somewhere laughing at us) and to your FiL.

Happy "Slainte!" Day to you!  May your corn beef ever be tender, your cabbage never be soggy and, for cripes may no one near you be as stupid as Chicago is this time every year!

 

Comment by Rosigami on March 17, 2018 at 9:34am

My kids are slightly more than one quarter Irish, since their dad had an all Irish mother, with the extra tiny piece coming from my side. (my Greek great great grandfather was a sailor who brought back an Irish wife)

Red hair and blue eyes abound. 

Lovely post, Anna. 

Comment by Anna Herrington on March 17, 2018 at 9:47am

FM, you got me thinking...... nope, nary an Irishman have I had  ; )  Black is definitely my go-to color, too...although I have been known to wear orange on this day, other years... yes! a Brooklyn Irish poem! I almost put the traditional 'wind be at your back' one but then noticed one with tea and a nice fire. How to resist? I will be celebrating today by finishing up painting project...and not the artistically inclined types you do, but rather the bathroom ceiling. ha! Glad you're around, Monkey, glad you're around  : )

Amy, definitely usurping of all pre-Christian major holidays - the only scant evidence is specifically for whether there was ever an Ostara Spring celebration pre-19th C. to usurp. Imbolc and Beltain well known to have occurred for ages, the Ostara one not as heavily evidenced as to official celebration way back - but no question there was an Ostara/Eostre known back in the day, Eostre the Germanic name that Easter 'took.'

The pagan celebrations, personally, have a sacredness, to the land and our own wellbeing and the seasons, that just resonate so beautifully....

Cheers to Pat and Suzy! I always picture some cozy street side cafe tables on said cloud, laughter, friends showing up here and there....    : )

And my sister who lives in Boston goes out of town *every* year on St. Patrick's Day.

That green river photo is making me nauseous! What in the hell do they put in it to make it so strong a green? ERK.  

Comment by Anna Herrington on March 17, 2018 at 9:51am

Hi Rosi! There's a story, the Greek sailor bringing home an Irish wife....

Only with recent DNA testing did I officially learn I'm part Irish but there were definitely clues with my Dad's and my red/gold hair as a kid, freckles galore, blue-green eyes... 

Bit of a weird holiday, today, but I loved it as a kid thanks to Mom.

Happy Saturday  : )

Comment by Anna Herrington on March 17, 2018 at 9:54am

BTW, that Bizarro cartoon made me laugh out loud and snort tea. HA!! 

Then I waited until Hubs was drinking his coffee to show him just to see his coffee-snort.... heehee.

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 17, 2018 at 9:55am

Amy, I'm a woman who LOVES soggy greasy cabbage - I've got my corned beef and a couple of heads of cabbage but I don't think I'll make it today.   We're going out so i'll extend st pats to tomorrow and make it then.  maybe some soda bread if I'm feeling frisky.

Comment by Anna Herrington on March 17, 2018 at 9:58am

I'm also a bit surprised the 'Saint' has stuck around and we're not down to celebrating 'Patrick's Day' or Irish Day or Green Beer Day.....

a la (St.) Valentine's Day. 

Comment by Anna Herrington on March 17, 2018 at 10:01am

Amy, FM, I was ignoring the food references.... have never had corned beef or soggy cabbage so am just ignorant on the joys of that feast...

Lasagna on the menu today. 

Symbolic of fertile fields, right?  ; )

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