We love to celebrate St Patricks Day here at Moonslipper!
Of course, being Irish, it's a day for eating, drinking, catching up with old friends and usually watching the local parade. And it's always freezing cold on March 17th in Ireland!
St Patrick was actually from Wales and was born around 385 AD and his birth name was Maewyn. At 16, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish raiders that came through his small village. After escaping, he went to Gaul and studied in a monastery there, realising that Christianity was his true calling. He was anxious to return to Ireland to convert the Irish pagans and Druids to Christianity.
After being appointed the second bishop to Ireland, he travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, setting up churches, schools and monasteries in his mission to covert all the Irish to Christianity. He greatly angered the Celtic Druids and other pagan groups and was captured many times, but escaped every incarceration. After 30 years in Ireland, St Patrick moved to County Down and passed away on March 17th 461 AD. This date was then chosen for his feast day.
We all know the shamrock as a symbol of Ireland and St Patricks Day. He used this little plant frequently in addressing his congregations to demonstrate the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
He was thought to have driven snakes and demons out of Ireland in 441 AD following a hilltop sermon at Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo after a fast of 40 days. However, it is more likely this is a metaphorical story pertaining to the disappearance of Pagans rather than snakes, as they were never native to Ireland in the first place.
Wearing green clothes on March 17th is thought to have originated from the phrase ‘the wearing of the green' which actually refers to the wearing of a bunch of shamrock on the collar, a tradition still carried on today. The original color to wear was blue.
Having a 'wee drop' on St Patricks Day is traditional! This could originate from an ancient Irish legend in which the saint was given a less than generous measure of whiskey. St Patrick apparently saw this as the perfect time to teach the publican a lesson of honesty and generosity. He told the unscrupulous man that a fearful demon lived in his and fed on his dishonest ways. In order to get rid of this devil forever, the man had to change his nasty custom.
Returning a few days later, he found the man filling his customer's glasses to the top. When the two of them went to the cellar they found the demon weak and wasting away because of the man's abundant turnaround. St. Patrick banished the evil entity on the spot, proclaiming that everyone should have a drop of the 'hard stuff' on his feast day. This practice is known as 'drowning the shamrock' because it is customary to float a leaf of the plant in the whiskey before sinking it in one go.
Wherever you are in the world, we would like to wish you a Happy St Patricks Day from all at Moonslipper!