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St. Patrick's Day

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THE HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK

Maewyn Succat was born around 373 A.D. in Northern England or Scotland. He was kidnapped as a teenager and brought to Ireland as a slave by Niall of the Nine Hostages, whose son, Laoghaire played a part in St. Patrick's mission to convert Ireland to Christianity. Maewyn was taken to Antrim and sold to Melivec. Here he worked as a shepherd under harsh conditions and turned to his Christian God for comfort. One day he heard a voice saying, "See your ship is ready." Upon this guidance, Maewyn planned an escape and went south to Wexford where he found a ship going to Britain. The Captain of the ship turned him down for passage, and Maewyn began to pray for guidance. The Captain later changed his mind and allowed Maewyn to board the ship.

Upon their journey, the ship was captured by a band of brigands and Maewyn was returned to slavery once again. Once more Maewyn heard a voice, this time saying, "Two months will you be with them." After 60 days, Maewyn was freed and he spent the next 7 years exploring Europe and seeking his purpose in life. Again he received guidance from God when a voice instructed him to study to become a servant of God and take His message to the world.

Maewyn was then educated at the Lerin Monastery off the island of Cote d'Azur and returned to Britain a priest, Father Patrick. At this point a voice came to him in a dream saying "We beseech thee, holy youth, to come and walk once more amongst us". Maeywn knew his purpose had been revealed-to convert Ireland to Christianity. He continued to study at the Monastery of Auxeril in France which is known for the dedication and enthusiasm of it's monks.

The monks decided to send a missionary to Ireland and despite the hopes of Maewyn, Palladius was chosen instead. But after the death of Palladius, Maewyn was finally chosen to complete his purpose. In 432 AD, Pope Celestine made Maewyn Bishop of Ireland.

In the winter of 432AD, Father Patrick arrived in Ireland with a band of 25 followers. Dichiu, the local leader welcomed them and became the first convert and patron. In the spring, Father Patrick confronted the High King of Tara, the most powerful man in Ireland. Father Patrick knew he would need a dramatic signal to get the attention of a man so powerful. On March 25, which is the beginning of the Spring, the pagans held a celebration initiated by the lighting of huge bonfires. The King always lit the first and largest of the bonfires. But Father Patrick began a bonfire before the High King of Tara, King Laoghaire, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages (who originally brought Maewyn to Ireland as a slave). This of course enraged the King, who gathered his princes and set out to war. When the two bands confronted each other in the field the stark contrast of the bejeweled princes and the plain clothed men of faith was obvious.

Father Patrick explained his purpose clearly and concisely to King Laoghaire and the king was impressed with his confidence. King Laoghaire invited Father Patrick to the Royal Court of Tara. When the procession arrived at court Father Patrick led carrying a large cross. He was received by the King with a kiss on the cheek. This enraged the Druids (the religious leaders of the court) as they anticipated a loss of job security. Therefore, they demanded that Father Patrick produce snow. Father Patrick merely replied to them that it is God's place to determine the weather. But as everyone looked out in the fields, it was snowing. Father Patrick made the sign of the cross and the snow stopped. The Druids were crushed.

After this magnificent sign, the King asked Father Patrick to explain his faith to him. Father Patrick began to explain the doctrine of the Trinity, one God in three different forms and the Druids began to laugh hysterically. The father looked down and saw a shamrock, and picked it up and used it to explain the Trinity to the King, just as one God has 3 different manifestations, so the one stem has 3 leaves, but it is all the same plant. The King was impressed with Father Patrick's teachings and gave him freedom to travel throughout Ireland to preach his faith. But the King himself refused to convert as he felt it would be a betrayal of his ancestors.

Many Irishmen were converted to Christianity under the influence of Father Patrick and his followers. The legend of the removal of all the snakes from Ireland (which never had any snakes to begin with), stems from the symbol of the snake to represent Paganism.

At the age of 50, Father Patrick undertook a pilgrimage to Crouch. There he was tempted and resisted. Because of his faith God granted him a reward, that the Irish should keep the Christian faith and be spared the horrors of Judgment Day. Instead Patrick would be judge. Thus come the legend that Ireland will be drowned under a sea of water seven years before Judgment Day.

In 441 AD, Father Patrick returned to Rome where the new pope, Leo I, gave him a relic of St. Peter and Paul. In 461 AD on March 17, Father Patrick died and was buried in a secret place to avoid the hazards of grave diggers. Many believe he is buried in Downpatrick in Down County.

Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, the anniversary of his death, all over the world. It is the most internationally celebrated religious holiday.





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THE HISTORY OF THE SHAMROCK

In the 5th century, the Ancient High Kings of Ireland were shown the mystery of the Holy Trinity by St. Patrick's use of the shamrock. The 3 leaves represent the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as one.
Most see the shamrock as a symbol of luck today. It is worn world wide on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, to show the Spirit of the Irish.




THE LEGEND OF THE LEPRECHAUN

A leprechaun looks like a small, (ugly) old man about 2 feet tall. He is usually dressed like a shoemaker, with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone, and pass the time making shoes.
Leprechauns possess a hidden pot of gold and treasure hunters track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. If caught, he can be forced to reveal the whereabouts of his treasure, but the captor must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun (and he often tricks them into looking away), he vanishes and hope of finding the treasure is lost.




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IRISH SONGS

"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"

When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure it's like a morning spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter,
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.
There's a tear in your eye, and I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such power in your smile, sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be,
You should laugh all the while and all other times smile,
And now smile a smile for me.
Chorus:
When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure it's like a morning spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter,
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.



I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover

I'm looking over a four leaf clover
That I over-looked before.
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,
Third is the roses that grows in the lane.
No need explaining the one remaining
Is somebody I adore.
I'm looking over a four leaf clover
That I over-looked before!

My Wild Irish Rose

My Wild Irish Rose,
The sweetest flower that grows.
You may search everywhere,
But none can compare with my wild Irish Rose.
My Wild Irish Rose,
The dearest flower that grows.
And someday for my sake,
She may let me take,
The bloom from my wild Irish Rose.






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POEMS AND PROVERBS

Shining Through The Tears
Its easy to be pleasant when life flows by like a song.
But the man worth while is the one who can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble
And it always comes with years.
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through the tears.
Irish Proverb


WEE BIT O' IRISH
You're the flash and sparkle in dark Irish eyes.
You're the whimsey and charm of leprechaun guise.
You're the treasured gold at the rainbow's end.
You're the beauty and mystery of emerald glens.
You're the top o' the mornin' - my cup of tea.
You're springtime adornin'...blessings on thee.
~Author Unknown~


IRISH PROVERBS.
* A drink precedes a story.
* Time is a great story teller.
* A friend's eye is a good mirror.
* Even a small thorn causes festering.
* Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.
* It is a long road that has no turning.
* As the big hound is, so will the pup be.
* A trade not properly learned is an enemy.
* Put silk on a goat, and it's still a goat.
* When the liquor was gone the fun was gone.
* There is no fireside like your own fireside.
* It is not a secret if it is known by three people.
* It takes time to build castles.
Rome was not built in a day.
* The man with the boots does not mind
where he places his foot.
* If you do not sow in the spring
you will not reap in the autumn.
* When a twig grows hard it is difficult to twist it.
Every beginning is weak.










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IRISH RECIPES

Leprechaun Oatmeal Cookies
Cookies: 3/4 cup (175 mL) Shortening 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) firmly-packed light brown sugar 1 egg 1/3 cup (75 mL) milk 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla 3 cups (750 mL) quick oats, uncooked 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon 1 cup (250 mL) golden raisins 1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped walnuts Frosting: 1/4 cup (60 mL) Crisco Shortening 2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar 3 tbsp (45 mL) milk 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) sweetened flaked coconut Green food colour 1. Pre-heat oven to 375F (190C). Grease baking sheets with shortening. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies. 2. For cookies, combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. 3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. 4. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls (15 mL) of dough 2 inches (5 cm) apart onto prepared baking sheet. 5. Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375F (190C) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely. 6. For frosting, combine shortening, icing sugar, milk and vanilla in medium bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer until well blended. Scrape bowl. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. 7. Mix a few drops food colour with 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) water. Place coconut in medium bowl. Add liquid and toss until colour is evenly distributed. Add additional drops food colour if darker shade preferred. Top cookies with frosting. Sprinkle with tinted coconut. Makes: About 2-1/2 dozen cookies


SCONES
1 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 pound butter, softened
2 ounces sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 ounces milk

Sultanas (white raisins) optional
Walnut halves (optional)
Mix flour and baking powder. Add butter, blending until mixture is butter-colored. Add sugar and continue to mix well. Add half the beaten egg and all the milk. Add raisins or some nuts, if desired, mixing well to make a sticky dough. Turn dough onto floured board and knead at least 5 minutes or longer. Cut dough into rounds and place on greased baking sheet or hot frying pan. Brush tops of scones with remainder of beaten egg. Place walnut halves on top, if desired. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until brown.











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CRAFTS

PUFFY SHAMROCKS
What you need:
Colored paper Scissors
Glitter, string, paint -items to decorate with
Glue
Stapler
Newspaper

What to do:

Cut two shamrocks from white or light colored paper. Next decorate one side of each piece. You can sponge paint, string paint, markers, glue and glitter, whatever. Next, staple the two shapes together, leaving a hole at the top. Stuff with crumpled up newspaper and finish stuffing. Voila! A Puffy shamrock


PEPPER PRINT SHAMROCK T-SHIRT
T-shirt (your choice of color)
fabric paint or 3-D fabric paint (your choice of color)
green pepper
cardboard
Equipment:
knife
plastic wrap
small paint brush

Instructions:
Wash, dry and iron your t-shirt according to manufacturer's instructions.

Spread the shirt out on your work surface. Insert cardboad between the layers of fabric to prevent the color from running through to the other side.

Cut the green pepper in half width-wise (that is, cut off the bottom). You'll be using the bottom of the pepper. Shake out any seeds in the bottom half and blot the cut edge of the pepper on some paper towel to dry it a bit.

Place a small piece of plastic wrap on your work surface beside the t-shirt. Squeeze out a small amount of paint on the plastic wrap.

Rub the cut side of the pepper in the paint so that the entire cut edge is covered in paint. You might want to blot the paint a little so it's not too thick.

Stamp the pepper onto the t-shirt. Continue coating the pepper with paint and stamping it on the shirt until the shirt is covered in shamrocks.

Use the paint brush to paint small stems on your shamrocks.

Let the paint dry. Then turn the shirt over and stamp the other side, if you wish.












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GAMES

TRUTH OR BLARNEY

Players each get a St. Patrick's Day Trivia Contest Sheet. You will need to make the sheets ahead of time by looking up some St. Patrick's Day Facts and changing some facts slightly to make them untrue. Players will pick which items are true and which items are false "blarney". Small prizes for those who get the most right.

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