Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Mike Ivanoskos, Veritas Staff
The Irish holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th. What was once celebrated as a religious feast day has become a date on which Irish culture is demonstrated through holding town-wide parades, taking part in Irish Step Dancing, eating special Irish food and representing the culture by wearing as much green as possible.
The figure whom the holiday was named after is ‘the Apostle of Ireland’ Saint Patrick himself. He was born around 460 A.D. In his early life, we’ve learned through his letters, he was captured in the city of Wales, Scotland which is just outside of Ireland. There he was made a slave. It was not until years later that he was able to escape and make a return to his family. Patrick’s family was made up of Romans who lived in Britain. It was finally around the 600’s that he returned back to the country of Ireland to continue his missionary work within the Christian faith by becoming a Cleric then a Bishop. Through this he became known as the Patron Saint of Ireland.
There are many legends and other folklore surrounding the holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day. Originally, people believed the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, illustrated the Holy Trinity. It has now become a symbol of the “luck of the Irish.”
Another popular legend is that Saint Patrick banished snakes from Ireland. The story entails him fasting and getting attacked by a swarm of snakes. As a result he proceeded to chase the snakes successfully back into the ocean. It is hard for people to believe in this legend because of the rarity that such an event could occur. There are no accounts of snakes spotted throughout the post- glacial period in Ireland. Another legend has St. Patrick sticking a walking stick into the ground while evangelizing, which turned into a tree.
St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was largely to honor and celebrate the Irish culture that so many colonists had been separated from. The biggest traditions that do not seem to be fading anytime soon are people sporting the color green and the holding of the annual St. Patty’s Day Parades.
To learn more about why Saint Patrick’s Day is so important and such a special occasion to the people who are truly Irish, we went out and interviewed a couple faculty members about Saint Patrick’s Day.
The first person we interviewed was Mr. Finn who is one of the foreign language teachers at Rockland High. He teaches both French and Spanish but he is most definitely Irish.
Mr. Finn dove into why the holiday of Saint Patrick’s day is important to him. “I am very Irish and I have more family in Ireland than I have in the United States, says Mr. Finn.” Mr. Finn additionally mentioned,” I take this day to look back on and remember what my Irish ancestors had to go through to make it to this country.”
He went on to talk about what this holiday should mean to anyone with an Irish identity. ”It is great to remember and know where you came from when thinking about where you’re going to go.”
Mr. Finn looks forward to attending a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day feast with his family and friends. Mr. Finn explains,” The feast includes potatoes, cabbage, ham, corned beef, beer and Irish soda bread.”
We also found out that Mr. Finn is one-hundred percent Irish. Mr.Finn states, “As far as I’ve traced my family tree back on both sides it’s shown nothing but Irish roots.”
This year Mr. Finn is excited to participate in a road race that takes place in South Cambridge called the Craicfest 5k. Mr. Finn says, “I really enjoy running anytime I can, especially on the Charles River, and there is also a party after the race.” It is important to note that “Craic” is an Irish word that translates to having a fun time.
Mr. Finn reflected back on his favorite Saint Patrick’s Day childhood memory. “As a kid, going to the Saint Patrick’s Day parades held in South Boston were a great time, and it was also a tradition to watch my cousins do Irish Step- Dancing.”
The second person we interviewed was Ms. Lauren Sullivan who is another one of the foreign language teachers here. She is one of the Spanish teachers.
Ms. Sullivan sees Saint Patrick’s Day as a looked forward to annual holiday where people can express their Irish roots. Ms. Sullivan says, “Saint Patrick’s day offers an excuse to throw a party and be Irish for a day.”
Ms. Sullivan takes this holiday as a chance to do two things. ”On Saint Patrick’s Day I wear the color green and get together with friends.”
Ms. Sullivan is almost all Irish. Ms. Sullivan explains, “I believe I’m about ninety percent Irish.”
Ms. Sullivan is going to a parade to celebrate this upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day on Sunday. “I am going to the parade in South Boston because I love enjoying that atmosphere with friends.”
For Ms. Sullivan in her history of celebrating the Irish holiday one event in particular stands out. Ms. Sullivan reminisces, “During, my senior year at Boston College we had this huge school-wide festival to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day; it was a very good time.”
A special thanks to Mr. Finn and Ms. Sullivan for being such great interviews. Thanks to them for giving us more insight on why Saint Patrick’s Day is such a special day. We at the Veritas wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
See more at about St. Patrick’s Day here.