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Every year on the 17th March, Ireland and the rest of world celebrate one of its patron saints, St. Patrick. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland and the Irish people take that chance to celebrate this public-holiday like no other feast day. Did you know that, ironically, it is believed that St Patrick was actually of Scottish origin? He first visited Ireland when he was taken there as a slave by Irish raiders. Later he escaped from them. After returning home he turned into a Christian and he became a priest and later returned to Ireland to turn the pagan Irish into Christians. His work was to eventually turn all the Irish into Christians or at least that’s what the story says.
RANDOM FACT: Traditionally St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the potato planting weekend in Ireland.
Stepping a little bit back in time
Ireland was first populated around 10 000BC but very little is known about its habitants. In the fourth century BC Celtic people arrived on Irish shores. Also Vikings raided the island for about 350 years in the Irish history until they were pushed out by the Irish King, Muirecan. Not to mention the fact that the Normans also tried to take a grab for Ireland. Basically, everyone wanted a piece of Ireland and fought over it even when the island was under the British Crown.
St. Patrick’s Day in the US
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, St Patrick’s has now become somewhat of a global celebration, with every Irish Pub in every corner of the world ensuring that people can really savour this national holiday the way the Irish would be proud of. Did you know that the Irish build the biggest nationality group in America? At the moment there are about 19 Million Irish people living in the US. They make 8% of the whole population of the United States of America. Many if not most of them came to America during the Great Famine in Ireland in 1845-51. They earned money because of the new industry and the new world. Because of their togetherness they became a huge influence and force among the locals. Despite being far from home, the Irish still made sure that they remembered their roots and ensured they stuck to their traditional St. Patrick’s Day every year. The Irish spirit is infectious and soon enough the American people began to join in on the celebration. Funnily enough, many American’s have no idea who St Patrick is and around 73% of them are unable locate Ireland on a map but they still enjoy joining in on the celebrations anyway!
The “always thirsty” Irish people drink the “Green Beer” excessively on their national day. For those of you who find the idea of green beer bizarre then don’t because it’s just like normal beer but with added green food colouring. After much consumption of such beer you can imagine how the Irish feel the day after… Did you know that the traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand? – Perhaps we should skip the greasy fry up and try this too instead!
On St Patrick’s the world is greener. Take Chicago for example, Mr. Stephen Bailey was the first to colour the River running through the city green (this lasts for a whole week!). This tradition is now more than fifty-year-old and is repeated every year – only for a couple of hours though! Many Americans think that this Irish tradition is a little over the top and think that they should keep Mother Nature out of it. Even Irish living in Ireland are jealous of how over the top the celebrations have become in the US.
Celebrations in UK are much tamer – you’ll see a couple dozen of ginger wigs, green jackets, and shamrock hats floating around cities not to mention the odd leprechauns gallivanting about in the UK but nothing as major or ridiculous as colouring the River Thames green. Don’t be too shocked if you see a couple of blokes toasting with a pint of Guinness as early as 9am either and if a few moments later they hobble out putting on their best Irish accent – this is totally normal!! It’s definitely tamer but still joyful so make sure you don’t miss out on the fun on 17th March!
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S!!!!
If you fancy a drink and an Irish dance meet us at O’Neill’s at 6pm in Bournemouth!
There is not any country in the World which celebrates Valentine’s Day as a Bank Holiday, none of the governments gives a day of rest – what a pity – even so – one half of the World’s population keeps its own head in clouds while the other half feels an icy indifference as Patrick is acting in the picture.
As an adult, you appreciate the reality of your Valentine’s Day.
However, if we take into consideration that the Valentine’s Day is not – or should not be – just about buying hundreds of cute Teddy Bears or twelve dozen of roses. In several countries, a generally accepted habit that people not only exchange cards, sweets, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine”; they also present their close friends or relatives with a tiny kindness like a chocolate or a cute postcard (mainly electronically). They want to express the love and thoughtfulness to their loved ones.
The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.
And now, we tried to collect many strange types of celebration which used to be/or actually are in practise now, or might just be legends. Some of them are not so common so do not be surprised if you are asked something similar like – for example – “What’s wrong with the people?” – in the end.
On this day it was customary for your young people to name the first eligible person (opposite sex) they met on Valentine’s Day as ‘Valentine’. After this, they are supposed to give a gift to their newly meet ‘Valentine’ and pay particular attention to them for a year.
Actually, one of the weirdest habits came from France. Valentine’s Day was the day of freedom for women because they were able to dissolve their marriage or even to cheat on their husband without any consequence. Moreover, the husband must put a good face on it.
On 14th February, many women feel obliged to give chocolates to all male co-workers, except when the day falls on a Sunday, a holiday. This is known as giri-choko (義理チョコ), from giri (“obligation”) and choko, (“chocolate”), with unpopular co-workers receiving only “ultra-obligatory” chō-giri choko cheap chocolate. This contrasts with honmei-choko (本命チョコ, favorite chocolate), chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, may exchange chocolate referred to as tomo-choko (友チョコ); from tomo meaning “friend”. March 14 a “reply day”, where men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day, calling it White Day for the colour of the chocolates being offered.
In Finland Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s Day”. Finnish people are more often focused on their friends, instead of their partner. Sending small cards, postcards, small gift to symbolise their friendship.
In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2008, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day items, telling shop workers to remove any red items, because the day is considered a Christian holiday. This ban has created a black market for roses and wrapping paper. In 2012 the religious police arrested more than 140 Muslims for celebrating the holiday, and confiscated all red roses from flower shops. Muslims are not allowed to celebrate the holiday, and non-Muslims can celebrate only behind closed doors.
The Dia dos Namorados (lit. “Lovers’ Day”) is celebrated on 12 June, probably because that is the day before Saint Anthony’s day, known there as the marriage saint. The February Valentine’s Day is not celebrated at all because it falls to Brazilian Carnival (that can fall anywhere from early February to early March and lasts almost a week.).
Are you going to celebrate Valentine’s Day?