St. Patrick’s Day!
What do you do for St. Patrick’s Day? I have made a boiled dinner of some sort ever since I had children that were old enough to enjoy a cultural experience. I found out that Corned Beef was an American tradition as the Irish Bacon was too expensive for Irish immigrants. They learned of Corned Beef from their Jewish neighbors and there it was, our American St. Pat’s Meal!
For an easy meal, purchase:
1/3 -1/2 pound corned beef per person
2 carrots per person
1 large head of cabbage
¼ – ½ pound potatoes per person
Irish Soda Bread or other of your choice
Place meat in slow cooker, cover with water. Place on low for 8 hours.
Place large cut carrots. potatoes and onions on top of meat after 2 hours of cooking.
Place cabbage on top of everything the last hour of cooking.
In my case, with 10 people for dinner, I had to boil the potatoes separately. I used 6 lbs of corned beef for 10 people and had no leftovers. I used 1 lb. of carrots and all were eaten. I used 2 onions and 1 large head of cabbage. I could have had more cabbage, but all of the meal was eaten except the potatoes because I used 5 pounds!
The experience: Serve Sparkling Cider or Guinness Beer. I made name plates for the table with Irish symbols on them. Then I copied explanations of the symbols. After dinner each person read the meaning of the symbol on their name place cards. It was a great way to have a discussion with the young adults around the table.
Shamrock (Trefoil, Cloverleaf)
The Shamrock is the ubiquitous symbol of all things Irish. Although today it is usually regarded as a simple good luck charm or a St. Patrick’s day decoration, it is one of the oldest Celtic symbols.
The shamrock is a native species of clover in Ireland. A Catholic legend holds that St. Patrick used it’s three lobes as a device for teaching the Holy trinity. To the Druids who came before, it symbolized a similar “three in one” concept- the three dominions of earth, sky, and sea, the ages of man, and the phases of the moon. In Celtic folklore, the Shamrock is a charm against evil, a belief that has carried over in the modern reliance in the four leafed clover as a good luck charm.
The triquetra (sometimes, triqueta) is a tripartate symbol composed of three interlocked vesica pisces, marking the intersection of three circles. It is most commonly a symbol of the Holy Trinity (Father, son, Holy spirit) used by the Celtic Christian Church, sometimes stylized as three interlaced fish:
Little is known about Druidism (the pre-Christian religion of the Irish people) in Patrick’s time. However, it is believed that sun worship was a core part of the belief system. Legend holds that Patrick incorporated a symbol of the sun into that of a cross to emphasize the Lord who has dominion over all creation.
Patrick seems to have been impressed by the natural mysticism of the Irish. The Irish viewed nature as both splendid and holy, whereas Roman Christians tended to hold a negative view of nature and the flesh. But, having been plucked from Roman society in his youth, Patrick never appears to have embraced the negative view of nature. He was thus uniquely suited to introduce the Irish people to the Creator of all creation.
The Color Green
Ireland, a land lush in foliage, is said to have “40 shades of green.” It is often referred to as the “Emerald Isle.” Since the 19th century, green has been Ireland’s national color.
Green is one of the three broad stripes in Ireland’s flag. Green is said to represent the Gaelics and the Catholics (the majority of Ireland’s population). Orange is said to represent Protestants. White, the middle color of the flag, symbolizes the desire for peace between the two.
“1. I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburniæ; he had a country seat nearby, and there I was taken captive.
“I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people — and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments, and did not obey our priests, who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought over us the wrath of His anger and scattered us among many nations, even unto the utmost part of the earth, where now my littleness is placed among strangers. “2. And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my abjection, and mercy on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son (Confession, verses 1-2).
of the small portable type played by Celtic minstrels, is the oldest official symbol of Ireland. Through not as recognizable as the shamrock, the harp is widely used. It appears on Irish coins, the presidential flag, state seals, uniforms, and official documents. But the harp is most often associated with Guinness, which adopted the harp as its trademark in 1862.
This romantic symbol is composed of two hands holding a crowned heart. The Claddagh symbol is used to show the bonds of love, friendship and loyalty. Some believe that the right hand of the symbol represents the father of Celtic Gods, called Dagda, while the left represents the mother goddess, Anu. The mystical, universal Celtic spirit Beathauile is believed to be the crown. The Christian version of this legend says that the crowned heart is a symbol of God the Father and the two hands are his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Celtic love knots
This stands for the love between two people, depicted by interlaced knots. Lovers exchange these knots just as couples exchange rings these days. The Celtic Oval knot is the simplest of all Celtic love knots. It stands for eternal life and goes back to 2500 BCE when the early Scottish, Welsh and Irish Celts first devised these knots.
There are many other Celtic knots too, each for a different purpose—after all, these knots speak for an entire civilization