I’m not Irish (German/Scottish/Indian), but my wife is. And it means about as much to her as it does to me. What? you don’t celebrate St. Pats Day? No, but I have friends that really get into it. Over 71% of white America contains predominately Irish genes? I don’t were green on that day unless if by mistake (Ouch! Did I just get pinched?!) …however, I own an array of olive drab/Camo green clothing; does that count? LOL. I don’t eat green food or drink green beer. So am I the odd duck? No. I love my Irish wife 🙂 I like my Irish cousins! Oh, and that luck thing…well, I’m a Christian, never been really into superstitions. I walk under ladders, open umbrellas in the house and wave at black cats as they go by. But enough of that. I suppose this post will contain info that most don’t consider; maybe not even care about- Hey, I’m with ya! But for those who want to know a a few truths about St. Patrick, here it is. Enjoy! And have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day,…whatever it means to you…Amen? Ya know, if you dig deep enough, you find what you’re looking for if it is there“…ofthestory.”
The following just might be some things you didn’t know about St. Patrick…
The Catholic Patrick
Many do not realize that Christianity in Ireland has a history that precedes the famous Roman Catholic evangelist.
Was the famous evangelist a “greenhorn” after all? Every year, on March 17, millions of Irish descent—and others who call themselves “Irish for the day” will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The day is celebrated with green—green clothing, green food, green hair and even green beer—to honor what many assume to have been Christianity’s arrival in Ireland. However, Catholicism in not true Christianity.
Yet history shows there is so much more behind the history of Christianity in Ireland—history that shows Patrick, the English-born Roman Catholic missionary, to be a “Johnny come lately” at best. St. Patrick’s Day was made an official Roman Catholic feast day in the early seventeenth century. However, many today do not realize that the story of Christianity in Ireland precedes Patrick by centuries.
Patrick may have had no idea who his ancient ancestors were, nor from where they came. But the celebration in his honor, marking his supposed date of death, would not have been cause for celebration to true Christians already living in Ireland when Patrick arrived—many of whom were descended from his own ancestors! Nevertheless, history credits Patrick with bringing a nominal form (not Catholicism) of Christianity to Ireland, where his missionary efforts brought an end to many long-held Irish traditions. He encountered bonfires honoring Irish gods, and adapted them for Easter (a non-Christian celebration) celebrations.
He took a powerful Irish symbol representing the sun and superimposed it onto a cross, creating the “Celtic cross.” He is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, thus making the plant a symbol of the Irish ever since. None of these developments, by the way, are representative of original Christianity. Preceded by James? Many would be surprised to learn that historical sources document the Apostle James visiting Ireland centuries before Patrick, preaching the true Gospel as he was taught by his elder half-brother, Jesus of Nazareth (the Son of God- Messiah).
Other historical sources indicate that the apostles Simon Zelotes, Simon Peter, Paul and others also brought the original Christianity of Jesus Christ to Europe’s Western isles in the first century—roughly 400 years before Patrick. Yet the history of Israelites in the British Isles does not begin there, either. Centuries before the apostles arrived, the tribes of Israel and Judah were carried into captivity by the Assyrians and then by the Babylonian Empire. Interestingly, there are no records of the Israelite captives returning en masse to the Promised Land.
They are widely known today as the “Lost Ten Tribes” and many assume they simply disappeared from the historical record. In fact, however, historical texts and archaeological findings reveal that at least some of these same Israelites resettled in a land south of the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Eventually they migrated north, heading through the gorges of the Caucasus Mountains, into Crimea on the northern shores of the Black Sea.
Their route out of Asia and into Europe apparently followed the route of the modern Georgian highway. Hiberians and Hebrews? (non-Jew) Late nineteenth-century Celtic language scholar John Rhys argued that the Celts and the Scythians came from this same area and migrated westward to Europe’s coast. Rhys believed that the names Iberia for Spain and Hibernia for Ireland were connected to a variation of “Hebrew.” Hebrew was the language of the Israelites (not-Jew) (Note: Jews and Israelites were two different peoples) who were conquered and resettled by the Assyrians—some of the same Israelites who would eventually settle in northwestern Europe and the British Isles. These resettled Israelites were Patrick’s own ancestors—an ironic twist to the tale!
Bonus Saint Patrick’s Day Facts:
The tradition of dying the water green in Chicago started in 1962. The idea was hit upon by the business manager for the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Local Union #110, Stephen Bailey (who was also one of the organizers of the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago at the time). In 1961, a plumber came to meet Bailey wearing white coveralls that had bright green stains all over them. Bailey asked how the stains got there and the plumber said that he’d been trying to trace some pollution leakages and was dumping the dye down drains at various points to figure out which line was leaking into the Chicago River so it could be disconnect it.
Bailey then got the idea that they could use this dye to turn the whole river green on Saint Patrick’s Day. He then asked around and the consensus was that it could be done. The following Saint Patrick’s Day, they dumped 100 lbs of the dye into the river. Surprisingly, it turns out this was a bit of an overkill as the river stayed green for a full week. The next year they reduced it to 50 lbs, which was still too much, keeping the river green for three days this time. In 1964, they went with a mere 25 lbs, which turned out to be the perfect amount to use to keep the river green for roughly 1 day.
They later had to switch dyes due to environmentalists claiming the original dye was significantly polluting the river due to being oil based. This was thought to be unlikely given it was non-toxic and with only 25 lbs of it dispersed in such a large body of water, the concentration was extremely low. Nevertheless, they switched it up and came up with a new vegetable based dye that if they used about 40 pounds of it, could keep the river green for about 5 hours.
The dye poured into the Chicago River on Saint Patrick’s Day actually appears orange before it gets mixed into the river, turning it a nice bright green color.
As mentioned in the video, originally the color commonly associated with Patrick himself was blue. This began to change all the way back as far as the 17th century when shamrocks and green ribbons started to be worn at Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. The shamrock is associated with Saint Patrick owing to the stories (perhaps true, perhaps not) that he used the shamrock as a way to illustrate the divine trinity when evangelizing.
While Saint Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated on March 17, the day it is thought that Patrick died, every now and then this gets changed, in terms of the religious observance of the day. For instance, in 1940 and 2008 March 17 was conflicting with other Catholic events, such as Palm Sunday in 1940. As a result of this, in 1940 Saint Patrick’s Day was moved to April 3rd; in 2008 it was moved to March 14. During these times, the secular celebration of the holiday is still celebrated on March 17th.
Around 1.6 million gallons of Guinness is consumed on St. Patrick’s Day. This is a bit over double the amount on any other given day of the year.
Some of the stories and traditions associated with Saint Patrick are actually probably from another man that preceded Patrick by a 1-3 decades (exactly how much isn’t known), Palladius. It has also been argued by some scholars that the blending of these two’s accomplishments was done purposefully to bolster the prestige of Saint Patrick. Palladius was one of the earliest missionaries to Ireland, ordained by Pope Celestine the first as the “First Bishop to the Irish believing in Christ”. However, accounts seem to indicate the Palladius and his companions’ mission was fairly unsuccessful and Palladius himself was eventually banished by the King of Leinster, at which point he went to Northern Britain to preach to the Scots. Nevertheless, much of what Palladius did accomplish while in Ireland has long since been credited to Saint Patrick instead and it’s difficult to tell in most cases exactly which of them accomplished what.
King George III in 1783 created a “Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick”, which is an order of knights of Saint Patrick given to certain people associated with Ireland who the monarchy wishes to honor. It’s been 77 years since the last person was inducted into this order and the last person in the order died in 1974, Prince Henry the Duke of Gloucester. Nevertheless, the order still technically exists with the Queen functioning as the Sovereign.
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