Friday, March 14, 2014

Monday is St. Patrick's Day

Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated each year on March 17th. This day marks the accepted date in 493 CE of St. Patrick's death. The day's spirit is to celebrate the universal baptization of Ireland.

As St. Patrick is the figure most prominently associated with bringing Christianity to Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland as a solemnity and holy day of obligation. The holiday is also officially celebrated by the Church of Ireland, the Irish branch of the Anglican Communion. The day is marked with special liturgical programs and a breaking of Lenten fasts. The Catholic feast day for this most loved of Irish saints has become a holiday in celebration of the Irish and Irish culture.

Few historical details are known about St. Patrick's mission to Ireland, although innumerable popular legends are associated with his work and play a major role in Irish culture. The shamrock's association with St. Patrick's Day comes from the popular myth that says St. Patrick used the three leaves of the plant to explain Catholicism's holy trinity to the Irish.

The Leprechaun is also associated with the Irish and is an Irish fairy. He looks like a small, old man (about 2 feet tall), often dressed like a shoemaker, with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone, and pass the time making shoes. They also possess a hidden pot of gold.  Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. If caught, he can be forced (with the threat of bodily violence) to reveal the whereabouts of his treasure, but the captor must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun (and he often tricks them into looking away), he vanishes and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost.
The holiday is also widely celebrated as a secular celebration of Irish culture. Cities around the world hold St. Patrick's Day parades and festivals to mark the occasion, with many people participating in the "wearing of the green." Popularized by Irish immigrant communities, festivities usually include traditional Irish food and drink such as corned beef and Guinness beer.

So people of Lexington get out there and celebrate!

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