Sunday , March 11, 2018 - 12:00 AM
Leprechauns, rainbows and shamrocks have symbolized St. Patrick’s Day ever since we learned about the holiday in elementary school, but certain traditions associated with this holiday aren’t quite what they seem.
To start off on an easy note, let’s focus on one St. Patrick’s Day necessity: the four-leaf clover.
The idea of finding a four-leaf clover in a patch of regular three-leaf ones is a symbol of luck, but this task is a lot more difficult than it may appear. The actual odds of finding a four-leaf clover are 1 in 10,000!
But there’s no need to let the horrible odds of finding this little symbol of luck ruin your holiday. Physically finding a four-leaf clover isn’t a requirement for you to still have a good St. Patty’s Day.
• All about the green?
One deep secret about this holiday that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later is the fact that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish! Although he was one of Ireland’s patron saints, he was not of Irish descent. Although the location of Patrick’s birth is not certain, this man born in either England, Scotland or Wales traveled to Ireland to serve there as a missionary.
Personally, I found it a little shocking when I discovered that this Irish holiday is named after a man who wasn’t even of Irish blood and descent, but in reality, the holiday is named after a saint who served Ireland and deserved to be honored.
While we’re on the topic of the famous saint, another common misconception should be addressed. Although this March 17 holiday is known for the color green, St. Patrick didn’t even wear green — he was known for wearing blue! The knights in his order wore a color which was known as St. Patrick’s blue.
Can you imagine how different this holiday would be if we celebrated it by wearing the color blue to avoid being pinched? I’m glad that St. Patrick’s Day gives the color green its moment to shine!
• Snakes begone!
For some reason, folks have been taught that St. Patrick accomplished the task of driving all of the snakes out of Ireland. Although is is true that Ireland is completely and naturally snake-free, this can’t be accredited to St. Patrick.
Due to the fact that Ireland is a country completely surrounded by water, it would make sense that there are no snakes to be found. After the last Ice Age, Ireland was cut off from mainland Europe and no snake species ever migrated there, according to National Geographic. Other islands that are snake-free include Greenland, Iceland, New Zealand and Hawaii.
So this fun little story of St. Patrick saving Ireland from all of the snakes is sadly nothing more than a legend, but it can still be enjoyed.
St. Patrick and Vincent Van Gogh can both bond over the fact that they were not recognized and respected until after they had already passed away. The Irish recognize St. Patrick in the present day, but they didn’t think he was worthy of being celebrated back around the time when he lived. It may not be fair the he didn’t ever receive much recognition while he was alive, but being celebrated now on March 17 every year isn’t half bad!
Although St. Patrick’s Day is viewed as an Irish holiday, here in the United States we have used it as another reason to throw a party. Many St. Patrick’s Day traditions were even created here in America and not in Ireland. It’s funny how often we use holidays from other countries, such as Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day, as fantastic excuses to celebrate and throw a party!
Although your idea of St. Patrick’s Day may now be completely turned upside down, there’s no need to let these little technicalities ruin your holiday. It’s better to focus on the positive sides of each one of these little known truths.
This lucky day filled with green things of every kind and fun traditions can still be celebrated in our own Americanized way.
London Maynard is a senior at Bear River High School. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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