Embrace the ‘Luck of the Irish’ this St. Patrick’s Day

May good luck be with you wherever you go,

and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.

The term ‘Luck of the Irish’ is more of an attitude towards life than actual luck. It is the natural Irish ability to put a positive spin on a bad situation. Thanks to Irish folklore, this term is most often heard on St. Patrick’s Day from people adorned in green, in hopes of finding the end of the rainbow and landing your eyes on that treasured pot of gold those lucky Leprechauns are charged with protecting.

St. Patrick

St. Patrick was a patron saint of Ireland born in Britain late in the 4th century. At 16 years old he was taken from his home in Britain and forced to spend the next six years as a herder in Ireland. Following his intuition, St. Patrick managed to find a way to escape and found passage on a ship back to his family in Britain. Patrick felt deeply called by the Irish to study for the priesthood, and once ordained as a Bishop he returned to Ireland to preach the gospel.

In his lifetime St. Patrick established monasteries, churches, and schools, sometimes baptizing hundreds of people in a single day. He famously liked to use the Shamrock to help explain the Holy Trinity symbol to his parishioners. Legend has it that during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop now called Croagh Patrick, and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland. Which is why in artwork, he is often shown trampling on snakes. St. Patrick the apostle of Ireland, died on March 17th, 461 in Saul, Downpatrick where he built his very first church.

March 17

For centuries since, the Irish observe March 17th the day of Saint Patrick’s death as a religious holiday, attending church in the mornings and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoons. 

It was the Americans that were the first to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a parade back on March 17, 1601. Over the years these parades became a way to show unity and strength and to celebrate Irish American heritage. In 1995, St. Patrick’s Day really gained popularity when the Irish government began a campaign to market St. Patrick’s Day driving tourism to Ireland to showcase its many charms to the world. It is now an international celebration around the globe, with parades, wearing your best green attire, and toasts of luck.

Leprechauns

Aside from the shamrock, another icon for this Irish holiday is the leprechaun, meaning small-bodied fellow. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns can be cranky, and are known for their trickery, using tricks to protect their cherished treasures. To this day, many still believe in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In fact, leprechauns have their own holiday on May 13, but are also celebrated on St. Patrick’s, with many people dressing up as the fairies.

Leprechauns are one of the reasons we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s said that they love to run up and pinch anyone they see as a way to protect that pot of gold. So, wearing green, the color of Ireland’s lush landscapes, helps you blend into the environment and hopefully avoid the pinch on your hunt for that ole Luck of the Irish.

An Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days

and warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends

be yours wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

with joy that long endures

May all of life’s passing seasons

bring the best to you and yours.

May the ‘Luck of the Irish’ always be with you, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

~ Jenny Tasker


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