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The Luck of the Irish

History of St. Patrick's Day
by

Deneshia Thompson

on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of The Luck of the Irish

History of St. Patrick's Day The Luck of The Irish What is "Luck of the Irish"? Who was St. Patrick? St. Patrick cont. History cont. History of the Holiday The Shamrock Luck of the Irish It is an ironic phrase. The Irish have been, and are a spectacularly unlucky race. The "luck of the Irish" is BAD luck, as any reading of Irish history will document. When I did my Master's thesis on Irish references in the American language, I found the original and proper use of this irony goes clear back to the Old Country and migrated to America early on. Nowadays many speakers and writers -- even the supposedly erudite ones -- misuse the phrase to imply GOOD luck. Let these misinformed (and misinforming) folks eat only potatoes for a few decades -- if any potatoes can grow in their fields.
Some trace the origin of the phrase to the US where, during the exploration for gold in the West, there were a high number of Irish people who got lucky, and found their "pot o' gold" in the gold fields of California, or were equally prosperous in silver mining. Luck of the Irish does owe its origin to the U.S.A.. When they arrived, they were very disliked, treated badly, despised and hated. When the Irish had any kind of success most Americans at the time didn't think the Irish were capable such successes, so they called it luck. Hence the term "Luck of the Irish".
As far as I know, the term comes from the legend of the 'Little People' of the land, or the leprachauns. Finding or catching a leprachaun (who would then give you gold) was a lucky event that could only take place in Ireland.
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery.
It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.
At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.
Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for thousands of years.
On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore, and Russia.
In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions, and fireworks shows.
In fact the first written mention of this story did not appear until nearly a thousand years after Patrick's death.
The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.





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