Tea Party Winners: Debra E. Marvin's winner is: Kathleen, Jennifer Hudson Taylor's winner of her MacGregor Legacy series is Chris Granville and second winner is Britney Adams for the plaque and For Love or Country novel:, Angela K. Couch's winner is: , Carrie Fancett Pagels's winner per random.org is Beverly Duell-Moore for a copy of BCB and second winner for colonial goodies is: Carrie Moore Gould, Denise Weimer's winner: Janet Marie Dowell, Shannon McNear's winner is: Adriann Harris, Pegg Thomas's winner is: Susan C

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day and All Things Irish?

St. Patrick's Day brings to mind all things Irish: kissing the blarney stone, shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, and wearing of the green. I wondered about the history of St. Patrick's Day in Colonial America, and what I found surprised me!

A little review about St. Patrick himself is in order. His birth name was Maewyn Succat, and he was born not in Ireland, but in Roman Britain near Dumbarton, in
387 AD. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by a band of Irish mauraders and lived in Ireland, in captivity, for six years.

Though born to a deacon father, he was not a particularly religious lad. His years spent in Ireland in solitude as a shepherd brought him closer to God and he converted to Christianity. It was a vision that prompted Maewyn to flee to a ship that would take him back to his home in Britain.

A second vision came to him as an angel in a dream: to return to Ireland as a missionary. He would study for fifteen years before returning as an ordained priest with the Christian name Patrick, to minister as bishop to the Christians and convert the Irish.

He died March 17, 461 AD, and centuries later was honored as a patron saint of Ireland.

The legend of St. Patrick's Day has its roots in Ireland, of course, but today's celebration, as we know it, took root in colonial America. Tradition has it that St. Patrick used the three-leaf clover to teach the Holy Trinity and wore the shamrocks on his robe.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in Boston, 1737, and was organized by the Charitable Irish Society. New York City hosted its first St. Patrick's Day parade in 1762 and the Fifth Avenue parade is now the most famous and largest.

Wearing of the green and pinning shamrock on clothing to honor their heritage became popular in America on St. Patrick's Day, a salute to the Emerald Isle and the saint.

And Corned beef and cabbage? Not so Irish. The Brits had long prepared tough cuts of beef by curing it with a brine of corns (or grains) of salt. Though the Irish had a traditional dish of boiled bacon and cabbage, upon immigrating to the colonies, they readily took to the corned beef. Here's an authentic way to prepare corned beef from Colonial Table that looks delicious!

My favorite Irish tradition is in the form of this blessing. The author is unknown, but some attribute it to St. Patrick:

May the road rise to meet you, 
May the wind be always at your back, 
May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
May the rains fall soft upon your fields, 
And, until we meet again, 
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Do you have a favorite Irish tradition? Where did it originate?

Rebecca DeMarino's debut novel, A PLACE IN HIS HEART, is set in Colonial America in the 17th century. It releases June 3rd from Revell.


  1. Thanks for the great post, Rebecca! My mom used to make corned beef with cabbage and it was gross. She didn't make it like that recipe (I went to the link-thanks!) but did it on top of the stove. Our neighbors made some wonderful and tasty corned beef and cabbage and sent me some over. Didn't taste anything like my mom's.

    1. Thanks, Carrie! My mom used to fix it, but I've never tried to. I think I will be trying the recipe from Colonial Table, though!

  2. Rebecca, I love this post! How interesting, and thank you for the link to the Colonial Table website. It looks like it's going to be a perfect goldmine of food and cooking info for my books. :-)

    1. Thank you, Joan! And I do love the Colonial Table! Great resource!!


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