Monday, March 16, 2009
Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone far and near. It is our national Saints day tomorrow 17th March. It is a Bank Holiday in Ireland with all the schools off. Parades will be held in villages and towns all over the country with the biggest and most spectacular being held in Dublin our capital city.
Our parade here in Cork has American astronaut Dan Tani as our Grand Marshall,his wife is an Irish girl from Kinsale in Co Cork.
It looks like being one of the best days weather wise for years! Sunshine and temps of up to 13% Celsius are being forecast.I remember being at the parade for the Cork
800 in 1988, this was the celebration of the 800th anniversary of our city getting its charter and it snowed ! It is usually windy,wet and/or freezing cold and the little children marching are blue with the cold.
A link here you can check out the myths and legends of St Patrick.If you see a picture of the Saint he usually has a sprig of shamrock in his hand and he is standing on a serpent (snake), did he or did'nt he banish the snakes from Ireland? We don't have snakes here so it is as good as any reason for it. I hate the way science can explain all of our mysteries and bring this one down to mere geographical location. They do say the snakes in Dublin Zoo get very tetchy and unpredictable on St Patricks Day!
I remember as a child for the season of lent ( the 7 weeks prior to Easter)we would give up sweets (not too hard,as we did'nt get too many of them!) a lot of men would give up drink for Lent and as St Patricks day fell in the middle of Lent it was seen as an excuse to break out and celebrate for one day. We went to Mass in the morning festooned in shamrock, green badges and big green ribbons in our hair, thank God there are no surviving photos! I don't know if the shamrock is only indigenous to Ireland or if it grows in any other country? Legend has it that St Patrick was trying to explain the Trinity to the pagans (us) and used the shamrock to illustrate the three leaves growing from one stem.We scoured the fields and gardens the previous day looking for sprigs of shamrock but now it is mostly sold on the streets.
There are parades all over the world to mark the day but usually held on the Sunday nearest as it is not a holiday in other countries. One of the biggest if not the biggest parade is held in New York every year and a bowl of shamrock is presented to the President by an Irish representative.
The photos are of Gran Canaria 2006, I am not in any of them or know any of the people, they were just taken randomly throughout the day.
On the gardening front most people would try to get the early potatoes in the ground before St Patricks day.