Of Sea Lions, Shamrocks, St. Patrick, Snakes and Spring


Of Sea Lions, Shamrocks, St. Patrick, Snakes and Spring

This coming week those of us who are Irish commemorate St. Patrick’s Day.  So do many others who “become Irish” for the day or days they consume in celebratory activities.

Even on occasion some aquatic creatures become Irish and celebrate.  Check out this short clip:

Shamrocks Galore

In the sea of all things Irish we may see this week, one we often spot is the shamrock.  This humble plant often symbolizes the “home sod,” likely because it is so abundant in the green fields and byways of Ireland.  The shamrock connects to St. Patrick and thus you see it a lot on March 17th because mythology tells us that St. Patrick used this readily available plant to explain the Trinity to the Irish he was converting.  Of course, no one knows this for sure as the first written reference to this fact is found 1200 years after St. Patrick walked the soil of Ireland on his mission.

But the Irish are noted for storytelling, and I suspect oral history had carried this example to the people of Ireland in those 1200 years.

I mentioned St. Patrick who’s the cause of this yearly celebration.  He wasn’t Irish by birth.  Instead he arrived at age 16 as a slave.  Irish raiders had captured him in one of their forays into England.  When Patrick finally returned to Britain, he entered the priesthood and as a missionary priest, he returned years later to the northern part of Ireland.  His mission? To convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. All this occurred in the second half of the fifth century.

He did his job well.  Christianity has been the dominant faith in Ireland since.  As for St. Patrick?  He became another symbol in Ireland and many consider him the patron saint of the land.

Perhaps his “driving all the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea” aided him in achieving this designation.  If I had a vote, I’d have voted for him.  A place without snakes sounds quite idyllic to me. J  Of course, this story is also based on mythology spread by those Irish story-tellers.  It likely represents Patrick’s converting the pagans from their beliefs (snakes).  But who knows?  I think the Florida Everglades could use him at present to drive those pythons into the sea.

So we celebrate St, Patrick’s Day, traditionally a day of solemn prayer, now one of parades, good food, parties, and lots of wearing of the green.  But our earth is celebrating, too.  For three days later, SPRING officially arrives with the vernal equinox.  I know in this part of Wisconsin most of us are seriously hoping that happens soon.

We’ve had a few peeks of Spring.  Most of the snow is gone.  Even the huge 8 foot pile of plowed snowbank just south of my home.  We now are enduring mud, but if our temps stay warmer during the day as they did every day last week, the mud will dry away.  Perhaps those dregs of winter hidden under snow banks for months are the “snakes” we endure .  This week we hope to drive them away—till next year.

What do you think?  Any “snakes” in your life spring might chase away?  Or special plans for celebrating spring or St. Patrick’s Day?

I hope you get a chance to celebrate both.

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7 Comments on “Of Sea Lions, Shamrocks, St. Patrick, Snakes and Spring”

  1. Edie Says:

    Snakes don’t bother me. What about mosquitoes? 😈

    We’re not Irish, but I asked my husband if he’d like a Reuben Sandwich. It has corned beef and sauerkraut, which is Irish for me. He said no. Too bad. I won’t make it just for myself.

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    Edie,

    I hate mosquitoes, too, but not as much as snakes. I am Irish and my hubby, who’s Austrian, loves corned beef more than I do, but I’m cooking it tomorrow as on the day we’re invited to my sister’s to celebrate the feast.

  3. Nancy Kaye Says:

    I got the video with no problem – very cute. I’m glad you picked that one over the Irish monkeys.

  4. Elle J Rossi Says:

    Snakes? Absolutely. I have some and I hope spring as well as other circumstances drive them away. Then again, maybe I should be careful what I wish for.

    I had never heard the actual story of St. Patrick until church yesterday. What an incredible story. No wonder people of all backgrounds celebrate. However, some may celebrate a tad too much!

  5. caseyclifford Says:

    Elle,

    Yes,celebrating too much can be an issue on St. Patrick’s day. And traditionally, the day was celebrated in prayer and going to church. Big change. 🙂

    I read your blog today but encountered a new form to fill out before it would let me post. That form required I provide at least 10 additional email addresses before I could do so and I’m not comfortable doing such a thing. Sorry. But I will keep reading the blog as I enjoy learning what’s in your group’s thoughts. I especially enjoyed hearing your comments today.

  6. caseyclifford Says:

    Nancy,

    Thanks for letting me know you could open it but I have no idea why the monkeys were part of it. They weren’t on the original link. Plus I still have to figure out why I couldn’t get the picture to be part of the blog with the arrow to click.

    Technology is making me more than a dinosaur. 🙂

  7. Elle J Rossi Says:

    Hi Casey,

    I’ve never seen the blog do that before. Must be a glitch of some sort. I’ll check it out, but thanks for stopping by!


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