Saint Patrick's Day - How Irish History and Folklore Became American Tradition

Saint Patrick's Day - How Irish History and Folklore Became American Tradition

Saint Patrick’s Day – How Irish History and Folklore Became American Tradition

Some fun facts about St. Patricks day!

Who was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick's Day - How Irish History and Folklore Became American Tradition

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was actually kidnapped from his homeland of Roman Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was just 16 years old. He managed to escape, but his heart was still with the people there. He later returned to Ireland bringing the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to its people. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland.

The legend has it that Saint Patrick was the hero who drove the snakes out of Ireland but St. Patrick did not actually drive snakes out of Ireland; the snakes only represented the pagans that he converted to Christianity.

Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the decorated saint of Ireland.

The actual color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day during the 19th century. Green, in Irish legends, was worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow.

Saint Patrick’s Day Parades?

The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737. Did you know that over 34 million people in the US have Irish ancestery?

Saint Patrick's Day ParadeIn Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps. Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair. Many people actually dye their hair green for the special day.

Most people wear green on this holiday to avoid being pinched. And who doesn’t remember the cereal Lucky Charms? Remember the slogan, "They’re magically delicious"? The commercial had "Lucky the Leprechaun" doing a jig!

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

And of course, St. Patricks day would not be complete without parties and green beer!

Drink Green Beer on Saint Patrick's Day


Saint Patrick's Day Shamrock 4-leaf Clover

Saint Patrick’s Day Downing the Shamrock

The phrase, "Drowning The Shamrock" is from the custom of floating the shamrock on the top of whiskey before drinking it. The Irish believe that if you keep the custom, then you will have a prosperous year.

And of course, St. Patricks day would not be complete without finding and wearing a clover! Legend says that each leaf of a 4-leaf clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.




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Saint Patrick’s Day – How Irish History and Folklore Became American Tradition







Saint Patrick’s Day – How Irish History and Folklore Became American Tradition Some fun facts about St. Patricks day! Who was Saint Patrick?


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American History and Celebration of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a particularly long American holiday. Most people get to have 2 days off and with the Weekend it’s a nice break from the rat race. Of course the people who work in retail and in restaurants only get one day off which is Thanksgiving Day. At the end though, most people are thanksgiving-ed-out and are ready to go back to work to heal the digestive track from all that overeating not to mention glad the family feuds and reunion is over.

The Thanksgiving Hangover starts on the Monday after where most people get up out of bed and realize that they either need to shed some pounds or are hurting from all the money they have been spending – especially on Black Friday. If you are suffering from weight gain from too much Thanksgiving and have an empty bank account - Click here for a great remedy.

History of Thanksgiving

In America, the word Thanksgiving itself brings to mind images of football, family reunions, roasted turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie and, of course, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag, the American history book acknowledged founders of the feast. But this is far from being true.

For centuries before the pilgrims from Europe came to North America, the American Indians have been ceremoniously celebrating their own Thanksgiving – thanking Mother Nature for their successful harvests and hoping for a good growing season in the early spring. Any children born around this time would also be celebrated as blessings and would have special names given to them.

As with Native traditions in America, giving thanks and feasting celebrations in England and throughout Europe after a successful crop are as ancient as the harvest-time itself. In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport. For people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was a joyous outpouring of gratitude. Spanish explorers and other English Colonists celebrated religious services of Thanksgiving years before the Mayflower arrived.

What is special about all this is that when the pilgrims from Europe came together to celebrate with the Native Americans, they would be able to understand and celebrate together in peace and harmony. The celebrations were about the gift of life which came about from the harvest meaning their hard work finally paid off. And they would not have to go hungry though the winter making it a really good reason to celebrate. Because of this relationship in America, Thanksgiving became a national holiday that will be celebrated probably forever.

Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations that we now call a national holiday in America today - Thanksgiving.

The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in the new land brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene. These Thanksgiving celebrations were a blend of two traditions, the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on ancient English harvest festivals and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.


Long before settlers arrived in the new Americas, the areas were inhabited by many Native American Indian tribes. The area surrounding the site of the first documented Thanksgiving, now known as southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island had been the home of the Wampanoag people for over 12,000 years. There is lots of evidence that they were visited by other European settlers before the arrival of the Mayflower.

The native people knew the land well because they had fished, hunted, and harvested for numerous generations. These tribes were nice enough to teach the new settlers how to survive in the new land. If it were not for this, the pilgrims may not have been able to adapt and survive the harsh environment and America would have been a totally different place than it is today.

The Settlers

The first colony in the new America was the Plymouth Colony. It was comprised by a group of English Protestants who wanted to break away from the over controlling Church of England backed by a brutal monastery.  They initially moved to Holland and after 12 years of financial struggles, they received funding from English merchants to sail across the Atlantic to settle in a ‘New World.' The Mayflower, a small but well built vessel carrying 101 men, women, and children spent 66 days traveling the Atlantic Ocean. Their intention was to land where New York City is now located. Due to uncontrollable weather conditions, the group had to cut their trip short and settle at what is now called Cape Cod. 

The First Thanksgiving Celebration

One day in the fall after their first harvest, some of the settlers were sent to hunt for food for a harvest celebration. The Wampanoag Indians heard gunshots and alerted their leader, named Massasoit. They originally thought that the English settlers might be preparing for an attack on their tribe. Massasoit visited the English settlement with 90 of his warriors to see if the war rumor was true. Soon after their visit, the Native Americans realized that the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration. Massasoit sent some of his own men to hunt for food for the feast and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together which is written in the history books as the origin of Thanksgiving.


Modern Day Thanksgiving

Naturally with modern machinery and technology, we don’t really have to be so thankful as in the earlier days because we didn’t have to do any of the work to get our food. We only have to go to the grocery store and buy all the Thanksgiving goodies. Because of this, there is always an abundance of food where even the extreme poor and the homeless can find a shelter or church where they too can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

For most of us, today’s Thanksgiving has become a TV watching and overeating orgy of family members feuding - turning into a shopping frenzy on Black Friday. I guess some people do say the lords grace before they sit down to eat. LOL

Growing up in the 70’s, my favorite Thanksgiving was the one where the underdog Detroit Lions finally beat the Dallas Cowboys ending a long tradition of Dallas winning on every Thanksgiving.

Facts About Thanksgiving

Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia each claim that they were the ones that hosted the site of the first Thanksgiving celebration and feast on American soil.  Even though there are some historical documents that support these claims, not all celebrations were documented.

The actual first Thanksgiving feast consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted poultry which does not even compare to today's traditional feast. Much of what most modern Americans eat on Thanksgiving was not even available back in the early days.

Believe it or not, the settlers didn't have silver buckles on their shoes. Nor did they wear somber, black clothing. Their clothing was actually bright and cheerful. Many portrayals of this harvest celebration also show the Native Americans wearing woven blankets on their shoulders and large, feathered headdresses, which shows the cold weather of autumn coming in.

It is also said that the Englishmen didn’t like to be called Pilgrims.

It wasn't until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared two national Thanksgivings; one in August to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg and the other in November to give thanks for "general blessings."

So take the time this holiday to give thanks for everything you have in your life and we wish you a very happy and festive Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Edward & JoAnn Walter



 The History and Celebration of Thanksgiving  

Video on our Day Trip to the city of Cheb Czechoslovakia near the German Border and the Czech Republic.

To read the rest of the article click here.



Czechoslovakia - Czech Republic


Places to Visit in Czechoslovakia  renamed the Czech Republic

I took this video on our Day Trip to the city of Cheb Czechoslovakia near the German Border and the Czech Republic. It was a three hour drive from my house in southwestern Germany near Stuttgart. My son and his friend wanted to go there to buy fireworks for New Years which is like the 4th of July in the USA.


More about Czechoslovakia - now called the Czech Republich

Located in central Bohemia, the capital city of Prague is the largest city in the Czech Republic. The historical significance of Prague dates back 1100 years. This one-time seat of the Roman Empire is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Europe.

A Ride on the Vltava River in Czechoslovakia

For a family outing that can’t be beat, hire a rowboat and row down the beautiful Vltava River. See parts of the city unseen through regular tourist exploration while relaxing in the warm, afternoon sun. Prefer a night on the river? The Jazz boat offers two and half hours of fine dining, live music, and a view of Prague’s beautiful city lights.

Crossing the Bridge

You may recognize this structure from the movie “Mission Impossible”. The 650 year old Charles Bridge was part of Charles V’s architectural improvements to the city of Prague and used to be the only way to cross the Vltava River. This gothic structure connects Old Town and Lesser Town, so if you are staying in Prague for more than a day or two, you will likely cross it more than once. Gaze in awe at the Old Town Bridge tower while perusing crafts and foods available from vendors all along the bridge.

Prague’s Ghost Trail

If you are looking for some spine-chilling fun in Czechoslovakia, this area is highly proclaimed to be the most haunted place in all of Europe. Walk through narrow, twisting, tight streets and enjoy ghostly sights and sounds, all while listening to your personal guide tell stories of murder, mayhem and romantic tragedy. Don’t expect to get through the night without sensing the presence of earth-bound spirits and hearing the occasional murmur of voices from the beyond the grave.

Havel’s Market

Be sure to bring plenty of spending money. The Grand Bazaar at Havel’s market in Czechoslovakia is a bustling area filled with everything imaginable. Enjoy the refreshing taste of the world famous Czech Republic beer, purchase fresh produce, baked goods and other dining delights as you look for and find the perfect souvenirs for friends and family you have left behind.

The Prague Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The Prague zoo opened in 1919 and now houses over 630 species of animals from around the world. Spread over 111 acres of land, the zoo and tropical gardens will take a full day to explore. The Prague zoo in Czechoslovakia is the proud birthplace of the first polar bear and Andean vulture born in captivity. If you are planning a family vacation, the Prague Zoo is a must for your list of places to see.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle in Czechoslovakia is the most important place to visit when you vacation in this city. The world’s largest ancient castle dates back to the ninth century and has been home to Roman emperors and Kings of Bohemia. The historical significance of this modern seat of Czech politics includes the Basilicas of St. George and St. Vitus, the church of Our Lady, towers and four palaces. Numerous architectural masterpieces are surrounded by eight strikingly beautiful gardens.

Hungry for beauty, history, and ambience? Make the capital city of Prague in the Czech Republic your next vacation destination.

If you like to see more stuff on Europe, here are some other sites that might interest you:

German Castles in Bavaria – The Neuschwanstein [New-Swan-Stone] Castle in Baveria Germany

Video of the Famous German Town of Dinkelsbühl Germany

Video of the Strasbourg Roman Catholic Cathedral in Strasbourg France

Video Tour of the Famous Heidelberg castle – Rich History and Architecture of the Heidelberg Castle






Places in Czechoslovakia Visit to Czech Republic


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