March is a busy month for CultureALL – school programs are happening all over Central Iowa, our spring Zoom in on Culture project is about to open its exhibition, and there are major changes coming for our Brazil event in May. Click the links below to:
- Find out about the Opening Artists’ Reception for Zoom in on Culture on March 26
- Learn about the new format for our Brazilian cultural celebration
- See the highlights of our recent Culture Day at Jordan Creek Elementary
March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day – the annual celebration of all things Irish. It’s a day when people wear green, drink green beer, eat a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage, and take in a parade (or at least listen to Irish music). Here are a few facts about the day you may not know:
- The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. It commemorate the death of St. Patrick (believed to have died on March 17, 461).
- St Patrick wasn’t Irish – he was born in Roman Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave at age 16. He escaped, but later returned as a Christian missionary.
- St. Patrick is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland – but Ireland never had any snakes to begin with! The waters around the island are too frigid for snakes to migrate. The story is thought to be symbolic of Patrick ridding Ireland of Paganism.
- St, Patrick’s Day falls during the season of Lent. The “shamrock” (which is actually an Irish variety of clover) was originally worn to symbolize the Trinity – the three leaves representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade did not take place in Ireland – it was held in New York City on March 17, 1762 by Irish soldiers serving in the English military. Today more than 100 celebrations are held throughout the U.S., the largest being in New York, Boston, and Chicago.
- The “traditional” St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage also originated in America. Corned beef was an inexpensive choice for meat that Irish immigrants borrowed from their Jewish neighbors.
- The tradition of tinting beer green also started in America. Dr. Thomas Curtin – a physician/eye surgeon – came up with the idea of tinting beer green for a St. Patrick’s Day party at the Schnerer Club of Morrisania in the Bronx in 1914. It is thought he may have been inspired by an Irish tradition known as “drowning the shamrock,” where a shamrock was dropped into a beer to bring good luck to the drinker. (Incidentally, if you want to tint your beer, experts say that blue food coloring is a better color to use than green!) Source: FoodandWine.com
- St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world, in countries including Japan, Singapore, and Russia.
- “Erin go Bragh” – a phrase often heard shouted on St Patrick’s Day – is the anglicized version of the Irish phrase Éirinn go Brách, which loosely translates as “Ireland Forever!”