March 14, 2013

Channel your inner Irish and bring the Emerald Isles into your home

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every 17th of March, the feast day of St. Patrick himself. Aside from the parade and parties where pints and quarts of beer are passed around, this day holds a greater significance for the people of the Emerald Isles. Here are some tidbits and fun suggestions on how to bring out your inner Irish.

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Facts

St. Patrick was neither given the name “Patrick” at birth nor is he Irish. He was born in the latter part of 4th century AD in Britain (some say Scotland) to a wealthy Christian family. According to stories, he was kidnapped by pirates when he was 16 years old and was sold into slavery in Ireland where his Christian faith sprouted and grew strong. He was able to return to his family after several years but then decided to become a priest and go back to Ireland to convert the pagans.

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St. Patrick’s Day did not originate in Ireland. It was actually first celebrated by Irish-Americans in the 1970s. Prior to that, St. Paddy’s Day was a minor holiday when Irish-American families sit down together and share a big meal.

 

Bringing out Your Irish Side

If you’re not a fan of swimming in a sea of green outfits inside overly crowded places, Treetopia suggests that you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day your way. Here’s how:

 

Irish-inspired Décor

Take out your green table cloths and curtains, and decorate your home with all the Irish-inspired ornaments you can get your hands on. Cut your own three- and four-leaf clover, triple moon, or triskelion out of colored paper and stick them on the walls. Whatever you make, don’t forget to make them in sets of threes because three is a powerful number for the Tuatha Dé Danann. This symbolized the Triple Goddess (maiden, mother, crone) for the neo-pagans and was a way for St. Patrick to illustrate the Triune God of Christians. While you’re at it, you can also try your hand at making Celtic knots.

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The Colors of Ireland

The Irish flag has three distinct colors: green, white, and orange. These colors are said to symbolize the Gaelic tradition of Ireland (green), the followers of William Orange (orange), and the hope for peace between the two (white).

How about decorating your home with little trees that go by those same colors? Treetopia offers the Rainbow-riffic Mini Christmas tree and Made it a White Christmas Tabletop Tree for decorating small spaces. If you want a glorious full-sized display, there’s also the Alexander Fir Tree, Basic White Tree, and Basic Orange Tree which you can decorate with mini triquetras, triskelles, claddaghs, pots of gold, and even little leprechauns.

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Irish Food

You will need your energy for a full day of awesome St. Paddy’s activities so it’s best to start with a heavy meal. Whip up a good old-fashioned Irish breakfast to start your day. To make it completely Irish, you must have the following on your plate:


photo by joelogon via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Rashers (Irish bacon)
Sausages
Fried or scrambled eggs
Tomatoes (halved and fried)
Mushrooms
Baked beans
Potatoes (boiled, mashed, or in bread form)
Black and white pudding
Brown bread

Sorcha Mac Donnchadha gives clear instructions on how to prepare your full Irish breakfast on YourIrish.com.

 

Irish Drink


photo by gorriti via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

You can’t fully experience the excitement of the day without a good quality pint or quart of beer. While Guinness is the crowd favorite on this specific day, you may opt for something classier like a Black Velvet drink. Here’s how to make one:

1. Pour Guinness in a champagne glass until it reaches halfway.
2. Pour your choice of chilled champagne until filled.

 

Enjoy Irish Culture

One of the awesome things about the Irish culture is that it is everywhere. Do you like to listen to music? You can’t have missed remarkable Irish bands that hit the mainstream music industry like U2, The Cranberries, Boyzone, and The Corrs. Do you love movies? Did you know that John Travolta is half Irish?  Pierce Brosnan—Agent 007 himself—is Irish! Do you favor the marriage of movement, story, and music? Try watching Riverdance or simply an Irish Step Dancing performance because it’s all there. Do you love literature? Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett, William Butler Yeats, Jonathan Swift, and even Bram Stoker are all Irish! Need we say more?


Riverdance photo by prayitno via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

Share your list of favorite Irish people, places, activities, food, and drinks with us!

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