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Your Compass MONTHLY
Spring is in the air. I know, I know ... the groundhog saw his shadow, which supposedly means we’re in for six more weeks of winter. Well, as I write this, Savannah has had temperatures over 75 degrees for the last three days. Don’t even get me started on the pollen. I used to drive a black car, but it’s been solid green for the past week. Speaking of green, St. Patrick’s Day is rolling up soon. There is always a huge celebration in Savannah. If you go, be careful. March is the month where we start the spring season. March is when we start to see beautiful weather — cool, but not frigidly cold. This past winter has been rougher than usual — I still can’t believe we had snow! I think I claimed last year that we are losing our seasons. Well, I must eat my words after this winter. It is a time to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. An exciting time, a fun time. FROM THE DESK OF Ty Wilson
St. Patrick’s Day is the best day of the year to let your Irish colors fly. Traditional celebrations include dressing in green, attending parades, and eating green food. However, these weren’t always the holiday traditions. It might come as a surprise, but the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t even born Irish! W ho W as S t . P atrick ? Not much is known about the man, and even his place of birth is subject to dispute among experts. We do know that he was born in a village called Bannavem Taberniae, which could have been somewhere in England, Scotland, or Wales. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland for the first time. He was held prisoner for the next six years, and he worked as a shepherd until he was finally able to escape. After such a rough introduction to the Emerald Isle, it might be a little hard to understand how Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland. Alone and scared in a foreign country, he turned to his faith for comfort. While his family was indeed Christian, Patrick had shown little to no interest in the practice up until that point. After being held captive for so long, he felt compelled by God to leave Ireland, so that’s what he did. THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOWABOUT ST. PATRICK’S DAY
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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. H oliday C elebration 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 Gray Matters
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. W ait , T hat ’ s a M yth ? 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!
Get your hands moving, and your mind will surely follow. (Note: Watching TV as a hobby doesn’t count! People who regularly watch TV may suffer up to 50 percent memory loss.) S ocialize If you want to maintain mental health, make socializing a priority. Having an active social life increases your resistance to mental diseases and improves your mood. Furthermore, a healthy social network of friends and family (and we’re not talking Facebook here) helps give you a support system to fall back on when times get tough. T ake a B reak Take a step back from your everyday life and enjoy the small things. Set aside time to sit down with a good book or another activity you enjoy. While on that 5-mile walk, why not take a few moments to slow down your pace and look at the world around you? As the famous saying goes, “Stop and smell the roses.”
Everyone faces the prospect of growing older. When it comes to aging, people’s primary concerns include aches, pains and their changing appearance. But perhaps even more important is mental health. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your mind sharp as you age so you can enjoy your retirement. E xercise Working out is inextricably tied to wellness in all its forms. A simple, light workout now and then not only maintains physical health, but it also boosts your mental well-being. A 5-mile walk once per week can increase brain volume and prevent mental diseases, including Alzheimer’s. It’s no wonder exercise is the go- to solution for maintaining wellness. L earn N ew H obbies Do you want to reduce memory loss by 40–50 percent? Dan Buettner, a researcher and best-selling author on studies about happiness and longevity, suggests learning a new hobby. Whether you learn to knit, paint, or discover a new board game, you’ll enjoy improved mental health.
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GREEN DOMINATES ST. PATRICK’S DAY FOR A REASON
Why Green Is the Color of St. Patrick’s Day
There’s only one day of the year you’ll be scorned for not wearing green: St. Patrick’s Day. If you’ve ever gone the whole holiday wearing any other color, you’ve probably been pinched by your peers, family, spouse, and anyone else decked out head to toe in green. Green has become so deeply associated with the St. Patrick holiday that many people are unaware that green wasn’t always its official color. Blue was the first color to symbolize St. Patrick’s Day, and the saint himself is almost always depicted dressed in what’s known as “St. Patrick’s blue.”
Another theory comes from Ireland’s nickname, “The Emerald Isle,” which was coined because of the plentiful green foliage that adorns the country’s landscape. It also relates to the green in the flag. Each of the three colors in the flag have their own symbolic meaning: green for the Catholics who live in the country, orange for the Protestants, and white for the peace between the two. Of course, you can’t forget leprechauns, the little creatures that have always been affiliated with the holiday. But just like St. Patrick’s original blue garb, these impish tricksters used to wear red instead of green. While green overtook blue as the shade of choice for St. Patrick, leprechauns began putting on their signature green suits. You might wonder where the tradition of pinching comes from. We can thank the leprechauns for this one. It’s said that if the gold-loving redheads caught you not wearing their favorite color, they would pinch you. To avoid pinches from leprechauns and people alike, be sure to put on some green this St. Patrick’s Day to blend in with the festive crowd.
What caused the shift from blue to green is more speculation than hard fact. Some have theorized that the change happened sometime in the 17th century, when the symbol for the United Irishmen Rebellion became the clover. St. Patrick used the clover to teach the Irish people about the Holy Trinity, and it eventually became a symbol that represented both the saint and the holiday.
Take a Break!
COLCANNON When you think of St. Patrick’s Day cuisine, corned beef and green beer are probably the first things that come to mind. This year, consider adding colcannon to your March 17 menu. It’s basically mashed potatoes on steroids, and it’s utterly delicious.
1 pound cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces 4 scallions, finely chopped Parsley, for garnish Salt and pepper, to taste
3 pounds potatoes 2 sticks butter 1 1/4 cups hot milk 1 head cabbage, cored and shredded
DIRECTIONS 1. Steampotatoes for 30 minutes. Peel skins andmash flesh thoroughly. 2. Chop 1 stick of butter into small cubes and add to warmpotatoes. Once melted, slowly addmilk, stirring constantly. 3. Boil cabbage in water.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to tenderize.
4. Add cabbage, bacon, and
scallions tomashed potatoes, gently stirring to combine. 5. Serve garnished with parsley and a pat of butter.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com
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Inside This Issue From the Desk of Ty PAGE 1 St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish PAGE 1 4 Tips for Mental Acuity PAGE 2 St. Patrick’s Day vs. the Color Green PAGE 3 Colcannon PAGE 3 Take a Break! PAGE 3 3 Herbal Teas to Boost Your Health PAGE 4
THE POWER OF HERBAL TEAS 3 Teas for Better Health
For centuries, people around the globe have relied on the power of herbal tea. Today, there are more herbal teas on the market than ever before. Finding a flavorful tea that also offers the right health benefits can be a challenge. Here are three varieties of herbal tea that are among the best of the best, both in flavor and healing power. L avender T ea
P eppermint T ea It’s no surprise this is one of the most popular herbal teas around. Thanks to its not-so-subtle aroma and natural sweetness, it delivers on flavor and packs a healthy punch. Peppermint tea is known for its ability to aid in digestion. Plus, it works wonders on stomach inflammation, alleviating everything from minor aches to nausea. R ooibos T ea A South African tea, rooibos is noted for its high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. If you’re looking for an immune system
For some people, lavender tea is great for reducing headaches, arthritis pain, and general joint aches and pains. For others, however, it improves sleep. Lavender tea is often recommended to people who suffer from insomnia or who have trouble falling asleep. Drink some before bed and let it do the rest. It helps you feel relaxed and eases you into the land of nod. The flowery flavor isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a natural sleep aid, it’s worth trying. If the flavor proves too strong, a great alternative is chamomile, which shares many of the same properties as lavender tea.
boost, rooibos is here to help. Thanks to its antioxidant powers, it’s also great for the skin. Stressed out? Anxious? Have a cup of rooibos tea. It helps ease stress and lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, rooibos tea lacks oxalic acid, an organic compound that plays a role in the formation of kidney stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones but love tea, rooibos may be the answer.
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