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A LITTLE EXTRA LUCK
Family Heritage and Holiday Origins
few blocks to a tavern. This helped the Irish reconnect with their roots, and also brought together the other Irishmen serving in the army. It’s also worth noting that those Irish soldiers would have worn blue, not green, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. A color called “St. Patrick’s blue” was worn by many followers of St. Patrick. Older paintings of the saint will feature this shade of blue. Legend has it that using the color green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day evolved from people wearing a shamrock to honor the saint. As the story goes, St. Patrick used the shamrock — or clover — to teach the Irish people about the Holy Trinity of Christianity. Learning about my own family heritage and St. Patrick’s Day has been an interesting experience. There’s a lot in life we might take for granted at face value, but when you look a little deeper, you’ll find that the real story is far more interesting. This year, I’m excited to go out on St. Patrick’s Day, wearing green — or
Kept as a prisoner and forced to work as a shepherd for six years, Patrick had a rough introduction to the Emerald Isle. Alone and scared in a foreign country, he turned to his Christian faith for comfort. After years of imprisonment, a voice that he knew belonged to God told him it was time to leave Ireland. Patrick walked 200 miles to the coast where he boarded a ship and successfully made it back to his home and family. Although he escaped the country, he couldn’t forget Ireland or the people who lived there. In a dream, an angel told Patrick he needed to travel back to Ireland. For the next 15 years, he studied to be ordained as a priest and then returned to the country where he was once held captive. Contrary to the popular story, St. Patrick didn’t literally banish all the snakes from Ireland. Instead, he spent the last 40 years of his life spreading Christian faith until he died on March 17, around 460 A.D. His life has been celebrated ever since. If learning St. Patrick wasn’t born Irish surprised you, you’ll be shocked to learn that, prior to 1995, Irish pubs were closed on St. Patrick’s Day! This is a religious holiday, after all. Most of the big traditions we associate with St. Patrick’s Day began in the United States. New York’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade happened in 1762. Irish soldiers serving in the British army marched a
I recently took a DNA genetic test through 23andMe. When the results arrived, I was
surprised to learn I’m Scottish-Irish. Genealogy has never been a big topic of discussion in my family, so it was interesting to learn about this piece of forgotten family history! The news of my Irish heritage also inspired me to learn more about the most Irish holiday of all: St. Patrick’s Day. Around 133 million people in the United States celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year, but not many of us know much about the man we’re celebrating. Did you know the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t born in Ireland? St. Patrick was born in a village called Bannavem Taberniae, which experts suspect was in England, Scotland, or Wales. When the future saint did go to Ireland, it wasn’t by choice. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of 16. “The news of my Irish heritage also inspired me to learn more about the most Irish holiday of all: St. Patrick’s Day.”
maybe blue — and have a drink at an Irish pub. It’s tradition!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Dr. Casey Bearden
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