(Money should be more those colors of green. Perhaps different amounts could be different shades of green, so they wouldn’t get mixed up so easily, with differently trimmed edges, so blind folks could tell what bill they had in their hand, One-Dollar bills being the brightest. Thinking out loud again!)
But then the subject isn’t money—it’s just about THE GREEN, and the place and the holiday that celebrate it. St. Patrick’s Day is so associated with green, that it almost represents the “arrival of spring”.
Now days, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated world wide with parades, whiskey and beer drinking, fountains dyed green, and everyone wearing some green. There are concerts of every kind and in a three-day celebration in Henderson Nevada. In Rolla Missouri, they paint the streets green in preface to the beginning of there ten-day celebration. In Seattle, where there are many people of Irish descent, the parade route is painted green for one-week of celebrations, with plenty of Irish foods, step dancing, Irish history exhibits, Irish speaking lessons, green hats every where, a religious mass for peace, and green lights on buildings. In Ireland, they have celebrated with a Steeplechase since March 17, 1863. St. Patrick’s Day didn’t become an official holiday until 1903.
Saint Patrick lived in the 4th century AD. He was born, Maewyn Succat, into a fairly affluent family. His father was an officer in the Roman-Britain army. Maewyn’s father and grandfather had also been a deacon in the church, so we can assume he had a religious up bringing. He was kidnapped at the age of 15 or 16 by Irish pirate raiders. He spent six years enslaved as a caretaker for their sheep and swine. During his years in captivity he became devoted to God. In stories he told later, he said, God told him in a dream to escape to the coast, where he would find a ship that would take him home. He did those things and obtained his freedom just that way.
He joined the Catholic Church right away and studied in a monastery in France for twelve years to be a Priest. It was his desire to return to Ireland. After some time, he was finally called to be a bishop there. Some folklore tells that he shook the Pagan Celtic Druids (the Irish religion at that time), with his tireless zeal for teaching, baptizing and confirming. He was arrested by them several times by the Druids, but always managed to escape. During his 20 or 30 years there, he built schools, churches and monasteries as he made his way across the country.
His name was romanticized to Patricius and later Patrick. He died on March 17, 461 AD. He has been celebrated in Ireland ever since.
At first the color blue was used to represent St. Patrick, but later it became green, because it was more representative of the Emerald Isle and the shamrocks of Ireland. Folklore tells that St. Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people.
In the 17th century, green ribbons were worn and men put shamrocks on their hats. The phrase, “Wearing of the Green” was taken from a song of the same name, and meant the wearing of the shamrock. Not wearing green may mean getting an affectionate “pinch” as a reminder, of the need to remember. NEXT TIME WEAR GREEN.
Other folklore legends say the he drove all the snakes out of Ireland, to drown in the ocean. Since there were no snakes in Ireland, some take this to be a metaphor for his driving all the pagan worshippers out of Ireland.
At some point, leprechauns also became a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. These foolish, flighty, greedy Celtic elves, were said to be pygmy, aged, shoemakers, who frequently drank, often so much that they couldn’t hold their hammers. They were self-appointed guardians of a pot or crock of ancient gold treasure. They supposedly also carry two leathers pouches. One with a real gold schilling to bribe their way out of difficult situations and another magic coin which returns to their purse each time they give it away. (Don’t you want one of those?) Legends also say, if you catch a leprechaun, he must take you to his treasure (At least that is what a leprechaun will promise). But if you take your eyes off him for even a minute, he will vanish.
Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day was a great feasting day. So now days people often celebrate by eating the traditional foods or just dying everything on they serve green. Some folks serve “green eggs and ham, or green mashed potatoes.
Some traditional food favorites are Corned beef and cabbage, Irish Lamb Stew, or Shepherd pie. For bread it’s Soda Bread or buttermilk scones. Deseret might be Apple mash with Oatmeal cookies or Irish Crème Brule.
My husband Ken served an LDS Mission in Ireland. (Steve Covey, world-known speaker and author, was his Mission President. Ken was assigned some of his time there to sing in an Irish folk musical group called the Mormonaires). He has a great love for the people and the beautiful lands of Ireland. I asked him what his favorite foods were while he was there, and without hesitation he declared he loved the “bangers and mash” which were two fried sausages sticking out of a big pile of mashed potatoes. This is actually often a breakfast dish. Another favorite was the deep fried fish and chips, but then he’s Southern, so he loves everything deep fried. He says even grass is good if you deep fry it. I guess I’ll never know.