Published on March 15, 2014
St. Patrick’sSt. Patrick’s DayDay History andHistory and TraditionsTraditions
Who was St. Patrick?Who was St. Patrick? St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He converted many Irish to Christianity in the fifth century. St. Patrick incorporated traditional Celtic symbols, like the bonfire and the sun, into his Christian teachings. St. Patrick died on March 17, circa 462. St. Patrick’s Day is the saint’s feast day and has evolved from a religious holiday to a worldwide celebration.
St. Patrick’s Day TraditionsSt. Patrick’s Day Traditions • Christians attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon, although pubs in Ireland were closed on March 17 by law until 1995. • The rules of Lent are waived and revelers traditionally eat Irish bacon and cabbage. • The first St. Patty’s Day parade occurred when Irish soldiers in the British army marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. • The Chicago River has been dyed green every year since 1962.
St. Patrick’s Day SymbolsSt. Patrick’s Day Symbols The Celtic Cross – a sun (from the Celts) super- imposed on a cross (from the Christians) The shamrock, or “seamroy,” symbolizes the rebirth of spring. It was later adopted as a symbol of Irish nationalism. The leprechaun, or “lobaircin” was a cranky, “small-bodied fellow” of Celtic folklore, given its “cute” features and popularized in the United States by Walt Disney.
St. Patrick’s Day SymbolsSt. Patrick’s Day Symbols Music has always been an important part of Irish life. Irish music is produced with instruments like the fiddle, the uilleann pipes, the tin whistle, and the bodhran. St. Patrick never drove snakes from Ireland; the story is a metaphor for driving paganism from the island. The traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage has been modified in the United States. Irish bacon has been replaced with corned beef for the annual feast.
Irish NamesIrish Names • There are 34 million U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry, second only to German. • Some Irish names: – Corey – Gaelic for “ravine” – Douglas – from the Gaelic name Dubhghlas (“dark river or blood river”) – Brent – derived from an English place name which meant “hill” in Celtic – Bryan – possibly related to the Old Celtic element bre meaning “hill; high, noble” – Kevin – from Old Irish coem (“kind, gentle, handsome”) and gein (“birth”)
InstructionsInstructions • Print out the slides and cut out on the dotted lines. Also cut out the title on each slide. • Arrange the facts however you would like on your bulletin board. • Include background information about various Irish names of residents on your floor. • Historical information from www.historychannel.com; Name information from www.behindthename.com • Images collected from various sources.
Bulletin Board submitted by: Mike Hillman, Resident Assistant Elizabethtown College
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Find out more about St. Patrick's Day, its origins, symbols, how it is celebrated worldwide and more. Get all the facts on History.com.
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