Saturday, March 17, 2012

Celebrating Saint Patricks Day

Celebrate Green

Growing up blonde haired, blue eyed and fair skinned, after asking, "Are you a natural blonde?" people would always say: "You must be Irish." It wasn't until my thirties that I read, in full text, the family genealogy my grandfather spent the last years of his life researching. Turns out, I am more than just a little Irish.

Although my mother named me after the "girl" in His Girl Friday, my first name, Kendal, is a true Irish name. Its actually Celtic, (more on that later) and means, "ruler of the valley" and "rolling, river valley." 8 of the 10 known strands of my family are from Ireland: My immediate family - The Hustons, The Fords, The Browns (Brauns, they are also German), and The Waldrops. The Hustons (my mother’s father’s family) are direct descendants from Claud Huston, the earliest known land holder in Ireland. Luckily for me, I LOVE Saint Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick Day Facts and Legends
-Ireland was converted to Christianity from Paganism by St. Patrick.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the “Baptism of Ireland” and is the day St. Patrick died.

St. Patrick was not Irish, he was British. He was kidnapped at 16 and put into slavery. He escaped and went to a monastery – then “had a calling” to go back to Ireland and convert the Celtics.

St. Pat’s was first celebrated in America when Irish colonist brought it to Boston in 1737. The parade started in 1762 when the Irish members of the British army were recognized in a parade in NYC. Savannah’s first parade was in 1813.

This is the 186 celebration in Montreal – the longest running parade.

The shamrock symbolized the three holy spirits – Mary, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. St. Patrick used it to demonstrate this to the Celtics.

Blue, instead of green, used to be the color for this day. Green is not the color of Irish; in fact, it used to be a symbol of bad luck. It was thought to be the color of the “good Fairies” and if a person wore too much of it, the fairies would kidnap them. It now is the symbol of the Irish members of the British Army and on the Irish Flag.

The coloring of the rivers green began when the Irish in Chicago poured green Vegetable oil coloring into the river. Savannah stopped coloring the river in 1991 and now only color the fountain in Forsyth Park.
It is tradition for women spectators to kiss the Armed Forces men in the parade.

The Blarney Stone is a gem located in Blarney Castle in Ireland. The legend is that a witch cast a spell on the stone granting whoever kissed it the power to “talk eloquently” which means to be able to talk people into things. She cast this spell after the king of the castle saved her from drowning. You can visit this stone in Ireland still, although the have to lean, backwards and upside down to kiss it.

1940 was the first and only other time the parade had to be moved from March 17 due to the celebration falling on Holy Week. It will not happen again until 2160.

Over 750,000 people attend the Savannah festival in 2006. For more info on Savannah's parade, visit:

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

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1 comment:

Destri said...

Happy St. Patty's!