Monday, March 19, 2012

Patty VS Paddy

Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, the day of the wearing of the green and a day full of celebrating. Irish themed pubs were filled to capacity and Celtic music was playing everywhere. And don't forget shamrocks - from paper decorations to t-shirts to cookies - that green leafed plant was everywhere.

I posted a Happy St. Paddy's Day message on a Facebook group I was on and one member pointed out to me, privately, that it should be St. Patty. So I decided to do some research and find out more about this special day.

St. Patrick's Day celebrates Saint Patrick  who lived from 387 until  461 AD. But you already knew that didn't you? Just like you probably already knew that St. Patrick's Day is a both a cultural and a religious celebration that is celebrated worldwide.

But did you know that the original color associated with St. Patrick's Day was blue and not green? Or that is also permissible to wear orange on St. Patrick's Day since that is a colour associated with the Emerald Isles.

Oh. And the phrase "the wearing of the green" means to wear a shamrock on one's clothing.

In 1903 Ireland made March 17 an official public holiday and a few years later Irish Member of Parliament, James O'Mara, passed a law that required all pubs and bars to be closed on St. Patrick's Day. This law was repealed in the 1970s.

In the mid-1990s the government of the Republic of Ireland began a campaign to use March 17 as a showcase for Ireland's culture. On March 17, 1996 the first Saint Patrick's Day Festival was held. The next year it was a three day event, by 2004 it was four days, by 2009 five. In 2009 675,000 people attended the parade and close to a million people visited Dublin to take part in the concerts, outdoor theatre performances and fireworks.

Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford all hold festivals to celebrate March 17 but the biggest outside of Dublin is held in Downpatrick, County Down where it is rumoured that Saint Patrick is buried. The shortest parade is held in Dripsey, Cork where the procession travels 100 yards, between the village's two pubs.

In Canada, and North America, one of the longest running parades is held in Montreal. St. Patrick's Day parades started there in 1824. (Montreal's city flag has a shamrock in the lower right quadrant.)

The Irish Association of Manitoba holds a festival that runs for three days every year to celebrate.

Here there is the Celticfest Vancouver Society and we have an annual festival to celebrate. This includes a parade and is held on the weekend closest to St. Patrick's Day.

From 1837 to 1926 there was a parade in Quebec City. After more than 84 years the parade returned in 2010 and hosted the New York Police Department Pipes and Drums as special guests.

For you hockey fans. Did you know that the Toronto Maple Leafs were called the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927? And that their uniforms were green? In 1999 the Leafs played on March 17 so the team wore the green St. Pats retro uniforms. Toronto also has a large parade every year that attracts over 100,000 spectators.

In 2009 the Calgary tower changed the top exterior lights to new green CFL bulbs just in time for St. Patrick's Day. This was done as an environmental move; the week the lights were up was reported to have saved the city about $12,000 and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The tower though looked like a Leprechaun's Hat.
But back to the original comment. Is it St. Patty or St. Paddy? Not only did I look up this information on the Internet but I also asked people and the winner is....St. Paddy. Patty is a diminutive of the Patricia not Patrick and according to John E. McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun, this saint's name in old Ireland would have been Padriag. However when you consider that St. Patrick was actually Romano-Briton he would have called himself Patricius. (Patrick is modern English)

Thanks go to Wikipedia for the information on St. Patrick's Day.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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