Cover story, continued ... Patrick walked 200 miles to the coast, where he was able to board a ship and successfully make it back to his home country and his family. Although he had escaped the country, he couldn’t forget it or the people living there. After being told to travel back to Ireland by an angel in his dreams, he studied for the next 15 years to become an ordained priest. Then, he returned to Ireland. He spent the next 40 years spreading the Christian faith among the Protestant people until he died on March 17 around 460 A.D. His life has been celebrated ever since. Holiday Celebration For a long time, St. Patrick’s Day was seen as an exclusively religious holiday in Ireland. Irish law went so far as to order pubs closed on March 17. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government saw an opportunity to use the holiday as a way to increase tourism and spread the joy of Ireland’s customs and culture around the world. Surprisingly, most of the traditions we associate with St. Patrick’s Day began in the
United States. In fact, the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York was in 1762. Irish soldiers serving the British army marched a few blocks through the city to a tavern. Not only did this help the Irish reconnect with their roots, but it also brought them together with the other Irishmen serving in the army. Today, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the largest in the United States, with 200,000 participates and over 3 million audience members. Wait, That’s a Myth? If learning that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish or that the holiday’s seemingly traditional celebration didn’t even come from Ireland, there are a few other mind-boggling facts that surround both the saint and the holiday. Many of the stories told about St. Patrick are legends or myths. One of his best- known roles as the saint who drove out the snakes from Ireland was used as symbol
to exaggerate how St. Patrick “cleansed” Ireland from paganism. Another legend revolves around the shamrock. It’s said that St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Irish people about the Holy Trinity. After his death, people would pin clovers to their clothing to celebrate what St. Patrick stood for. This eventually led to people wearing green in their clothes instead of wearing the clover. Speaking of green, you might also be surprised to learn that the color wasn’t always used to symbolize St. Patrick’s Day. A shade of blue called “St. Patrick’s blue” was the color many followers of St. Patrick wore. You can still see St. Patrick’s blue in paintings of him, shown underneath the green we’ve all come to love. Now when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, you can enjoy the festivities with a better idea of where the traditions came from. Don your favorite Irish gear and enjoy the celebrations!
Up in the Air
The Legacy of Amelia Earhart
The TV documentary “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” made a media splash when investigators claimed to have uncovered a photograph of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, alive in the Marshall Islands. According to their narrative, Earhart and Noonan survived an emergency landing in the Japanese-occupied islands, only to languish as prisoners of war. Cold water was poured on this theory shortly after. A copy of the same photograph was found in the Japanese National Archives with the date 1935, which was two years too early for the photo’s subjects to be Earhart and Noonan. People’s enthusiasm to solve the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance will persist for years to come. But this month, as we celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history, it’s important that we set aside the mystique of Earhart’s death to honor her vibrant life. She blazed a trail for women in science, aviation, and beyond, leaving a legacy as boundless as the sky.
There are plenty of figures worthy of remembrance during Women’s History Month. From literary pioneers like Mary Shelley and Emily Dickinson to civil rights heroes like Rosa Parks and Daisy Bates, inspiring legacies abound. But few of those women’s stories end with a question mark. To this day, the story of famed pilot and women’s rights advocate Amelia Earhart remains shrouded in the clouds. Her life was defined by a rare combination of curiosity, conviction, and courage. Earhart became a nurse during the Great War, taught aeronautical engineering at Purdue, and was an avid feminist in the post- suffrage era. On top of these accomplishments, Earhart became the famous aviator we remember today. After her twin-engine Lockheed Electra disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during the last leg of her historic 1937 flight around the world, the Earhart legacy has been defined by mystery. For decades, historians and enthusiasts have batted around theories about the fate of the intrepid pilot. Just last summer, on the 80th anniversary of her disappearance, a History Channel documentary claimed to have found the truth.
2 • unitedconservatory.org
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