Issue 3, March 2016
Welcome to our third edition of SPED Speak, our department newsletter to help keep us informed!
Laura Frey, Katie Gonzales, Paula Harper, Amy Lozano, Melinda Rayman, Jenn Schneider, Jeannie Song & Sheri Block, Chair - Communication Committee
Myths and Legends about St. Patrick’s Day
Myths and Legends about St. Patrick’s Day (taken from) www.local8now.com/content/news/Myths-and-legends-about-St-Patricks-Day
· St. Patrick was NOT born in Ireland. The myth - St. Patrick was Irish. He was born somewhere in the British Isles circa 390 and didn’t come to the Emerald Isle until he was 16. That’s when he was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish pirates. He was brought to Ireland and held as a slave for 6 years. He eventually escaped after claiming to have heard a heavenly voice and fled to England, where he continued the religious awakening that began during his escape.
· Christianity was already thriving in Ireland. The myth - St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. In 432, Pope Celestine is said to have sent a bishop named Palladius “to the Irish believing in Christ”. Patrick didn’t come back to Ireland until a year later, indicating there was already an active Christian community there. The modern version of St. Patrick is an amalgam of the two men.
· Ireland never had snakes to drive out. The myth - St. Patrick drove snakes out of Ireland. This legend probably is just an allegory for his eradication of pagan ideology – with snakes representing the serpents of Druid mythology.
· The Shamrock may or may not be Apocryphal. The myth - St Patrick used the 3-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans. Clovers were already important in paganism, with their gree color representing rebirth. Three represented everything from Hindu mysticism to Sumerian gods.
· St. Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday in Ireland. The myth - Irish people get hammered on St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland does have a robust pub culture, and gave the world Guinness. But in fact, for most of the 20th century pubs were legally closed on March 17, since it was considered a religious holiday. Those laws were taken off the books in the late 60’s but even then, the Irish didn’t drink green beer. That pleasure was reserved for their American cousins.
· St. Patrick wasn’t even English. The myth – St. Patrick was British. Technically, he was a Roman citizen as the British Isles were under Roman rule. His father and grandfather were active in Roman Christianity but he didn’t become a believer until after his escape. Some scholars believe he may have hailed from Italy. His name is in dispute as later documents list his name as Maewyn Succat. His two letters are signed by “Patricious, and he probably adopted the name Patrick from the Latin for “well born”.
· Leprechauns have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. The myth – Leprechauns are inexorably linked with St. Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns are an important part of Irish folklore but didn’t appear in literature until the Middle Ages, well after Patrick’s return to Ireland.
· Green wasn’t always the traditional St. Patrick’s Day color. The myth – Green is the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. It is now but probably from the 18th century when supporters of Irish Independence from England used the color to represent their cause. Knights in the Order of St. Patrick actually wore blue that served as the background for the Kingdom of Ireland’s coat of arms.
· Irish people don’t really eat much corned beef. The myth – Corned beef and cabbage are the traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast. It seems to be an American twist on an Irish meal. It’s based on the curing of ham on long ocean voyages. Irish corned beef was popular in England the first half of the 1800’s but far too expensive for the Irish tenant farmers to eat. However, Irish immigrants to New York City couldn’t get the pork they were used to so they bought corned beef from their Jewish neighbors as it was cheaper.
· It’s not that big of a deal in Ireland. The myth – Ireland pulls out all the stops to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Until the 1700’s, the Day was one of many Roman Catholic feasts. There was no raucous drinking of green beer, kissing Irish. But when large numbers of Irish immigrants came to America, they pushed back against nativist anti-Irish sentiment by organizing parades and other displays of pride centered around March 17. The first was in Boston in 1737. Today, the holiday is imply seen as a celebration of Irish culture, cuisine and history.
· The shamrock and the 4-leaf clover are different. The myth – The shamrock is the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, but for extra luck, you really want a 4-leaf clover, which is also Irish. 4-leaf clovers are rare and therefore thought to bring good luck. But the shamrock is the symbol of national pride. The 4-leaf clover is not intrinsically Irish and can be found everywhere.
· Chicago can’t dye the river blue. The myth – Chicago dyes the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day, so why don’t they dye it blue the rest of the year? Chicago began dyeing the river green for St. Patrick’s Day in 1962. A body of water is whatever color it is because of the light that gets filtered through it. That river is clear, but don’t drink it.
· You probably don’t want to kiss the Blarney Stone. The myth – You kiss the Blarney Stone on St. Patrick’s Day to get the gift of gab. People use the Blarney Stone as shorthand for Irish culture. But the Blarney Castle wasn’t built until 1446, 1000 years after the time of St. Patrick. Native Irish people and hygiene experts agree that kissing the Stone is incredibly unsanitary.
However, Katie Gonzales has kissed the Blarney Stone and lives to tell. :)
Coordinator Office Hours
Courtney Green, Diag, got married on January 2, 2016 – new last name will be Love (planning to formally change it over spring break). I now have a stepson age 11 and a stepdaughter age 13 joining the family, in addition to my own daughter age 10. My husband also has two grown boys one of whom is married with a 2 year old. (SB – I just realized she’ll be Courtney Love :)
From Melinda Loyd – Jordan Alvis, VI teacher, got engaged in October and will be married in July
Athletic and Graceful Becky
1. From Deborah Muir-Sanchez – 2 articles of interest – links are:
March and April Birthdays