Tag Archive: St. Patrick’s Day

Here in the Twin Cities, we started celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday the 16th. We can’t hold a Sunday parade downtown – plus our local Catholic diocese told us we shouldn’t have  Sunday parade (what with it being The Lord’s day and all).

A Saturday parade in St. Paul is a BIG deal. Even with the temperature being 28-32 degrees, the sun was out and walking and waiving to the masses kept us warm enough not to notice.
On top of that, my sister and I created this AMAZING steampunk-inspired costume. I had a lot of compliments all day – including during the parade!


There was a sad realization, though, that both my husband and I had: Neither one of us enjoys the post-parade pub crawl anymore.
It used to be a ton of fun.

But now there’s drama and such. Plus, we just can’t drink like we used to.
I get all tired and mopey.
He gets cranky.
We don’t enjoy being with ourselves or anyone else when we’re in that state.

So we called it an early night, asked sober-sister to drive us home, and ordered a pizza.
It was a really good decision

Who was St. Patrick of Ireland? (stolen from The History Channel website)

St. Patrick: Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

St. Patrick: Guided By Visions

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God’s—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.

To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

St. Patrick: Bonfires and Crosses

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.

Countless works of art have depicted the bearded saint crushing serpents under his feet, and pointing to the distance with his staff as if to banish them from his sight.
But there is little evidence that snakes were indigenous to the island.

Most folks tend to connect the snakes with the pagans of early Ireland. There are many tales of how St. Patrick wielded the power of God to subdue the pagan magiks. Stories of great [pagan] kings falling – either by conversion to the new Christianity or by death.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a huge part of my heritage.
My family is from Ireland, and the majority of them are Catholic. I was raised Catholic.
I have a lot of respect for the saints and stories.

But what I could never get behind is the notion of a wrathful God.
Free will? Nope, too bad. You made a wrong choice and must suffer in the worst way possible.
Free will? Only if you follow how I tell you to follow.

This new religion just comes in and says, “Hey guys, I know you’ve been worshiping like that for all these years, but, um, you’re totally wrong. And this new guy is, like, so right. You should follow us. Because, well, just because we say you’re wrong and we’re right. Ours is the only God. And if you don’t follow this new guy, you’ll, like, burn in hell. Oh, you don’t have a concept of hell? Too bad; you’re going there anyway.”

“Also, our God totally loves you, regardless of your tradition of following this other religion. But, um, he’s gonna smite you anyway. Because he loves you.”

God’s a jerk like that sometimes.
He totally loves you, but he’s going to hit you.
And then tell you that he’s only doing it because he loves you.



I’m part of the group that organizes the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade here in St. Paul. February and March are a BIG deal.

We have a new group of Shamrock Princesses, all vying to be the next Miss Shamrock, Queen of the Parade.
This year, because of my dance schedule, I really stepped back from too much responsibility – I used to help with the Princess Committee.

But, I still participated.
We sold buttons, made appearances, and sang silly songs.

We even made the local news (warning, earplugs may be needed).


2007 Miss Shamrock Coronation (that’s me on the end in the super-silky gown)


This is what I deal with every year.

This is what I deal with every year.