The Luck of the Irish

By: Katie Kerr

Good day me Lads and Lasses!  St. Patrick’s Day is just around the bend, and there are many Irish folk who needs a kiss on Sunday March 17, 2013.

How did St. Patrick’s day really start?  Well most historians agree that he was born in Scotland or Wales around 370 A.D. and that his given name was Maewyn Succat.  His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Romans living in Britain.  At the young age of sixteen he was taken into slavery.  It was said that one night as he was praying he had heard a voice telling him to escape to a ship two hundred miles away.  Maewyn got to the ship, sailed to Europe, and disembarked in France.  He then led several of the sailors through a harsh wilderness, they prayed for salvation.  As the the terrain got more dangerous some of the men were suffering from starvation, they prayed for food and animals appeared.  As they reached Ireland Maewyn changed his name to Patrick and made it his quest to convert to Christianity and to bring Christianity to the Irish people.  In later years Patrick became a Saint and a patriarch.

According to legend, Saint Patrick used a shamrock to explain about God.  The shamrock, which looks like clover, has three leaves on each stem.  Saint Patrick told the people that the shamrock was like the idea of the Holy Trinity, that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The shamrock was sacred to the Druids, so Saint Patrick’s use of it in explaining the trinity was very wise.  In a more mythical part of the legend Druids believed that a four-leaf clover could help in spotting witches or other demons.  Some modern-day spiritualists claim that a four-leaf clover releases energy and helps one’s judgment.  Yet others feel that finding a four-leaf clover brings good fortune, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.

Although it began in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world.  People with Irish heritage remind themselves of the beautiful green countryside of Ireland by wearing green and taking part in the festivities.

As part of Irish mythology and folklore the Leprechauns are part of our faerie folk, called by some as the “wee folk”. As a cousin of the clurichaun they are known to inhabited Ireland well before the Celts.  Small enough for one to sit comfortable on your shoulder they are very smartly dressed in small suites with waist coats, hats and buckled shoes. As mischievous and intelligent folk they are harmless to the general population in Ireland, although they are known to play the odd trick on farmers and local population of villages and towns.

It is said that every Leprechaun has a pot of gold, hidden deep in the Irish countryside. To protect the leprechaun’s pot of gold the Irish fairies gave them magical powers to use if ever captured by a human or an animal. Such magic an Irish leprechaun would perform to escape capture would be to grant three wishes or to vanish into thin air!

Leprechauns are also very keen musicians who play tin whistles , the fiddle and even the Irish harp  and various other Irish traditional instruments. They are known to have wild music sessions at night which in Ireland are known as Ceili’s with hundreds of Irish leprechauns gathering to dance, sing and drink.

A Leprechaun is a smart, devious little thing and who’ll do anything to escape capture even if it means turning you into a frog.  They are the exception in the Faerie realm as they are the only Faerie that has a trade other than cattle trading. They are shoe-makers.

There are many folk tales and lorres about how St. Patrick’s day and its traditions started bit without a doubt being Irish is something to be proud of,  so follow the rainbow and look out for four leaf clovers and remember to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s day!

Comment with questions or your thoughts about the Irish traditions! Let us know what you think and thank you for visiting us at uhsuhstalk.orgm!

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