Irish Legends, Myths and Traditions

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ST. PATRICK: Macwyn Succat was St. Patrick’s real name. He was born in Scotland. The exact date of his birth and death are not known. Some say that he was born in 385 AD and died at the age of 79 in 464 AD. He is the patron saint of Ireland and he was a Catholic saint. He founded the Christian Church of Ireland.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY:  The national day of Ireland is St. Patrick’s Day. It is celebrated on March 17, the day of St. Patrick’s death. America first celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, MA in 1737. The rivers in Chicago, IL are dyed green for the holiday.

THE IRISH JIG: The popular folk dance for St. Patrick’s Day is the Irish Jig. Its name derives from the French word “gigue”, which means “small fiddle.”

IRISH FLAG: The colors of the Irish flag are green, white and orange. It is divided into three equal parts. The color green stands for the Catholic or Nationalist tradition. The color orange stands for the Protestant or Unionist tradition. The color white stands for the hope of peace between the two groups.

TRADITIONAL IRISH FOODS: The traditional foods served for St. Patrick’s Day are Irish Soda Bread, Irish Stew and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Guinness, a popular dry stout, is the traditional beer of St. Patrick’s Day.

THE COLOR GREEN: Green, which represents the season of Spring, is the traditional color of St. Patrick’s Day. It is a custom to pinch a person caught not wearing any green for the holiday.

SHAMROCK: The shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland. It is a small green plant with three leaves. The word shamrock derives from the Irish word ‘seamrog”. Which means “little clover.” St. Patrick used the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity. The first leaf stands for The Father. The second leaf stands for The Son. The third leaf stands for The Holy Spirit.

FOUR-LEAF CLOVER: The four-leaf clover is a symbol of good luck. It represents God’s Grace. Some say that Eve carried a four-leaf clover from the Garden of Eden. The first leaf stands for Faith. The second leaf stands for Hope. The third leaf stands for Love.

The fourth leaf stands for Luck.

LEPRECHAUNS: The leprechauns of Ireland arelittle Irish fairies. They are two to three inches tall and they are known as shoemakers of the fairy kingdom. Leprechauns are said to live in Hawthorn trees. They are related to the Cluricans, who are known as being lazy and do not like to work. The Cluricans are the evil leprechauns you see portrayed in horror movies. Leprechauns carry a crooked wooden stick called a shillelagh, which they use to gain access to the rainbow. They are known to fiercely guard their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


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