Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Let me say first, that today, I will be in Seattle, celebrating St. Patty's day along with my son, with whom I celebrated it on this day last year, that being his first time. We had a great deal of fun and we're going to try to duplicate the effort this year. I'm not much of one for parades, but there's no end to them during this week.
Flag of Ireland

There are some good links on this blog today for things Irish and St. Patty's Day oriented. I'm not saying anything about the bars I'm mentioning, I only go to those two (and a shout out to the Owl and Thistle) as I take a ferry over from Bainbridge Island and you walk along a path straight to Owl & Thistle or Fado, and then it's a straight shot to the left on 1st Avenue to Pike Place Market and Kell's. That way no car is involved. I can actually take a bus if I wish to and from the ferry and home. Then you can even hit the bar at the ferry terminal, Commuter Comforts, run by some of my favorite people.

Regarding those who are suffering around the world, they have my most powerful and earnest excessively positive thoughts to them all. May they all be soon dancing and happy once again and their troubles be put far behind them and never to find their address in the dark of night or light of day!

But on one day a year, no matter how bad things are, it's good to take the time to celebrate and forget about your woes and the world's troubles. A tradition that was once in Ireland, far more important perhaps, than it is now; albeit now is not so great either. Where we had the "Great Troubles" before, we now, in Ireland, have the "Financial Troubles" which is troubling, but after all, no one is kneecapping you over your credit rating, or blowing your friends up at the local pub.

March 17th, is St. Patrick's Day. It is a high holy day of drunks, Irish and party goers the world over. They say on St. Patty's day, everyone (who wants to be) is Irish. It's a grand day of sharing community and inebriation. Always have your toast "Sláinte!" ready at hand as its commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland (and Scotland and the Isle of Man), literally translating as "health". And here health to ya!
Saint Patrick (c. 387–461)

It's also a special day for Catholics. But they have their blog, I have mine. I have celebrated St. Patty's day all my life. As far back as I can remember. My mother, when I was younger than five, had a cut out streamer hanging from one side of our ceiling in our living room, to the other, saying: "Erin Go Bragh!" Meaning, allegiance to Ireland or typically, "Ireland Forever". It is probable that the English version was taken from what was a "dative" context, such as Go bhfanad in Éirinn go brách ("May I stay in Ireland for ever") or Go bhfillead go hÉirinn go brách ("May go back to Ireland for ever").
This was funny because, she is Czech, but I think she was just a "party girl" and liked celebrating a day that was all about, well, celebrating. Her husband at that time, wasn't my dad, who was Irish, but her current husband, who was always proud of saying he was English. We never got along. Of course now, for some reason, he claims Irishness. I've no idea why. He claims he never made a big deal out of being English, nor did he ever decry Irishness. But he did.

Odd to say, my mother has done that too. In telling her once I stepped over my brother's prostrate form, on the living room rug, watching TV, she made me step back over him because, "if you step over someone, it means they may die." She denies ever saying that now. Strange enough, a few years after that, he died.

Back to St. Patty's day.

And now, our Wikipedia moment:

"Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It originated as a Catholic holiday and became an official feast day in the early 17th century. It has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Irish culture.

"It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Montserrat, among others."
According to legend, Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people.

Wearing of the green

Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, in hopes of making a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

Now that that's all out of the way....

We will probably go to Seattle's Kell's Irish Pub at Pike Place Market. Have some lunch, get a T shirt ($20 entry fee).
 Kell's Seattle
I do so dislike that they use plastic cups but worse, that they use cups that are not a full Pint. So you have to pay extra and get two "pints" on St. Patty's day if you want one. The up side of that is that you end up with more than a pint, but it's God awfully expensive that way.
Fado Seattle
There is a lot to enjoy however. People are there early, at the Fado this year, they are starting by opening their doors at 7:30AM. It's always fun once in a while to have a pint first thing in the morning (but please, be sensible, eat breakfast, drink a glass of water between each pint).

Now most pubs are celebrating all week long, staring the previous weekend, and ending the following one. But I just celebrate it on the Day.

I love Irish music, especially if it's live, and its always fun to have some good clean laughter, good times with interesting people, friends and loved ones, or at least strangers who treat you nicely. And St. Patty's day is all about being nice to strangers and having a pint with them.


On a side note, it always helps to have a few Irish blessings under your belt for St. Patty's day. If you can belt out a few of these you will be the life of the party Here are a few I have hanging on my walls:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.

Now a few quick ones good for a toast in a raucous room of rowdies:

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse
Than the happiest day of your past.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light.
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

May the enemies of Ireland never meet a friend.

May the roof above us never fall in.
And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.

Here's a toast to your enemies' enemies!

For those religious types:
May the Lord keep you in His hand
And never close His fist too tight.

May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let's all get drunk, and go to heaven!

May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.

May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.

May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
And quick to make friends.
But rich or poor,
Quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May you have food and raiment,
A soft pillow for your head,
May you be forty years in heaven
Before the devil knows you're dead.

May the face of every good news
And the back of every bad news
Be forever toward us

May I see you gray and combing your grandchildren's hair

And finally....

There are only two kinds of people in the world,
The Irish, and those who wish they were.

Okay, that was just a jest for fun, maybe yet one more....

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment