Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Today is 17th March, the Feast of Saint Patrick (or, more correctly Lá Fhéile Pádraig), and a public holiday throughout Ireland. Patrick was not the first person to bring Christianity to Ireland, as the faith was practised there long before his time, but he was very successful at converting the pagan Celts. He was not an Irishman either, and was actually born under the Roman occupation somewhere on the British mainland, probably between 390AD and 385AD. And while he is Ireland's primary patron saint, he is not their only one! In fact, Ireland has three patron saints: St Patrick, St Brigit, and St Columba.

St Patricks Day Jewelry
Much of the information we have about St Patrick comes two of his letters which have survived. One, known as the Declaration, is a kind of a spiritual autobiography which gives a brief account of his life and work. In this letter, Patrick describes how he was captured into Irish slavery as a teenager, then in later life returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary, following visions entreating him to convert the pagans there. But as a foreigner in Ireland, he had no legal status and was not regarded with respect - indeed, according to his writings, Patrick was mistreated, beaten, robbed and imprisoned on more than one occasion.

St Patricks Day Jewelry


Ireland is fondly known as the Emerald Isle, and it is certainly very green and always seems to be raining when I'm there! It has been associated with the color green for centuries, and shamrocks, the national flower of Ireland, have been worn on St Patrick's Day since the late 17th century. The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamróg, which means small clover, and legend has it that Patrick used the three leaves of the trefoil plant as a metaphor, to explain the three parts of the trinity to his Christian converts. It is a popular myth that Patrick wore green robes, but this is extremely unlikely.
There is also a story that Patrick banished all the snakes in Ireland by driving them into the sea. But there were almost certainly never any snakes in Ireland in the first place, and this myth probably symbolizes his driving out pagan practices in favor of Christianity.
St Patricks Day Jewelry


So, what does St Patrick's Day mean to Irish people today? According to Edna Barth, "For most Irish people in Ireland the day has little to do with religion at all. St. Patrick's Day church services are followed by parades and parties, the latter being the best attended. The festivities are marked by Irish music, songs, and dances."

John Nagle agrees: "Like many other forms of carnival, St. Patrick's Day is a feast day, a break from Lent in which adherents are allowed to temporarily abandon rigorous fasting by indulging in the forbidden. Since alcohol is often proscribed during Lent the copious consumption of alcohol is seen as an integral part of St. Patrick's Day." Sounds good to me, although along with other English people I don't celebrate it.

St Patricks Day Jewelry


But please please please, NEVER call him Patty. Patty is a girl's name in Ireland, and is short for Patricia, not Patrick. My Irish friends and family living in Dublin, Cork and Kerry - several of whom are named Paddy - get very upset indeed if St Patrick is referred to as Patty! The correct nickname for Patrick is either Paddy, which derives from the Irish Pádraig, or Pat. So, feel free to call him St Patrick, St Pat, or St Paddy if you like, but NEVER EVER St Patty!

20 comments :

Gaiana said...

Great info with some fun pieces!

Gaiana said...

Great info with some fun pieces!

Keystring said...

Great article and selections!

capitalcitycrafts said...

Thsnks for the very interesting history! And sharing those very pretty creations!

Mollie Ann said...

My Irish eyes are smiling just reading this wonderful history! Thank you!!!

jemsbyjb said...

Great history lesson! Love all of these beauties.

Jennifer said...

I loved this!

Tracy said...

Wonderful!

Donna Arena said...

Oh WoW...I'm surprised at how much I DIDN'T know or was false. Thanks for all the great info and the research you did Erika!
Of course all the jewelry selections are right on target with this celebration, good stuff JETS!!!

Erin Austin said...

What a fun read!

Heather Morgan said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! Thank you so much for all the great history! There was so much I didn't know! The selections are great too! :)

Urban Pearl Studio said...

Blimey!

Beadsme said...

Getting educated and checking out the bling at the same time - cool!

cserpentDesigns said...

Fab St. Patrick's designs! And love learning more about the day!

Nancy Russell said...

My green Irish blood is loving this. Thanks for so much information and for the lovely pieces included.

Lori Taggart said...

Really informative! I didn't know most of this. Thanks for including my little toe ring in the pics!

WanderingJewel said...

Thank you for the festive St Patrick's day post :)

SendingLoveGallery said...

lots of Irish here too, great post!

Gemstones on My Mind said...

Wonderful post, St. Patricks Day is close to my heart!

Gloria Flynn - EarthEnergyGemstones said...

Being Irish, I thought I knew all about St. Patrick's Day, but you managed to educate me even more! Lol! Great article and beautiful jewelry.