Yesterday, as I was making sure my boys had something green to wear to school today, it struck me that I had no idea about the origins of the holiday. All I know is that you wear green and leprechauns are everywhere – and there are pots of gold, shamrocks and green beer. I love how we Americans take other country’s holidays and turn them into an excuse to sell things and party!
|The typical crazy St. Patrick's Day leprechuan.|
St. Patrick was a priest and missionary who helped to spread Christianity in Ireland in the 5th century C.E. However, did you know St. Patrick was not even Irish? He was born in Britain to a wealthy family around 390 C.E. As a teenager, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and held as a slave in Ireland for six years. During that time, he turned to Christianity. He returned to Britain and received religious training, but had a revelation to return to Ireland to bring Christianity to the Irish, who were still largely practicing paganism. It is believed he used the three-leafed clover, or shamrock, as a visual aide to explain the holy trinity.
|An artistic interpretation of the real St. Patrick.|
History lesson aside (sorry, I love this stuff) – what are food traditions associated with St. Patrick’s Day? Well, good Irish folks supposedly went to church in the morning on St. Patrick’s Day and had a celebration in the afternoon. Lenten restrictions were waived for the day, and families could enjoy a traditional meal of cabbage and Irish bacon. Corned beef is an American adaption and is not really eaten in Ireland.
Now I must hit the kitchen and work on an Irish-themed feast for our family tonight. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do – but I do have two sticks of butter sitting out to soften. I think shortbread will be in the mix! I’ll post tomorrow with the results, but thought I should go ahead and post my little history lesson for anyone else who may be wondering who in the heck St. Patrick is. I’d love to hear what you have cooking, and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you today!