Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Celebrating St. Patrick's day with UT Tyler!

My English Literature Professor likes to tease me about wearing a lot of green. I’m not sure why he thinks I wear an abnormally large amount of it, because I don’t think I do, but it does happen to be my favorite color. Add that to his occasional commentary about my Irish heritage, and you get a loud reminder that “my” holiday is coming up. Of course he was referring to Saint Patrick’s Day, which does happen to be one of the more exciting and fun cultural holidays to celebrate! I’ll even tell you where to find some fun public celebrations, if you’re interested. Want to learn a little bit about what March 17th is all about? Stick around and I’ll share some facts and history with you! 

I feel like this is what my professor expects...

Most of what people know about Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17th is that it’s all about Irish things and wearing green. You might have been one of those unfortunate souls who has forgotten to wear a green item that day and got chased around and pinched by your friends at school. No? Okay, maybe that was just my school, then… Anyway, there’s more to this day than just wearing green, talking about the Irish icons, and maybe doing age appropriate celebrations at special restaurants.

One interesting subject is the person the day is named after: Saint Patrick himself! Here are a few fun facts about him:
Saint Patrick
  • He is the patron Saint of Ireland, who is credited with bringing Christianity (esp. Catholicism) to the island country and is considered a national apostle.
  • He actually was not the first person to bring Christianity to Ireland but he spread it around the most
  • It is said that he is attributed with driving all snakes off the island when he came, though snakes have never lived on the island.
  • The above fact might actually be related to him converting pagans to Christianity, with snakes being symbolic for the pagan religions.
  • He has chapels dedicated to him all over the western world, including ones in New York City, Dublin, Glastonbury (England), and Toowoomba (Australia).
  • One theory about the  reason for the date this holiday is celebrated is that people believe it to be the day St. Patrick died.

As I said before, most people celebrate the day by maybe wearing some green, attending age-appropriate parties, and wishing your friend good luck. That’s not all people do to celebrate, though, especially if you’re near a large Irish population! Here is a list of traditional things that people might enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day at a festival:
This kitten is ready to party
  • Dancing! The Irish love to dance and you can often find places in larger cities that hold events where you can learn and partake in some of the fun folk dances. ( I’ve done it before and it was a blast!)
  • Listening and playing some traditional and modern Irish tunes
  • Offering prayers for missionaries and loved ones and taking some time for introspection
  • Parades. Doesn’t everyone love a lively parade?!
  • Enjoying traditional Irish drinks and dishes. I promise, this culture’s hearty food is exceptionally tasty!
  • Attending a Mass before celebration, especially in Ireland where it is an important national holiday.
  • Buying things associated with green, gold, leprechauns, luck, and especially the shamrock. The shamrock is so iconic for this day because St. Patrick chose it as a symbol. This was mainly because of the traditional three leaves, symbolizing the holy trinity.

If you’re interested in getting your celebration on for St. Patrick's Day (the weekend just before as it falls on a Monday), here are some places that offer celebrations.

In Texas: Dallas is offering a few fun things: Ludacris headlining the St. Patrick’s Day concert and Dallas Mavericks St. Patrick’s day Parade and Festival (I think I went to the Mavericks event two years ago and it was so much fun!). Houston also hosts a parade and festival. Apparently, there is a huge memorial and celebration for Saint Patrick’s Day held in the Alamo in San Antonio as well.

New Orleans, Louisiana (AKA Party Central) also has a huge number of events and celebrations going on around town, including several different parades, block parties, market festivals, and other things.

If you can’t get out of Tyler or off campus but still want to celebrate with your friends, you can always look up some delicious traditional Irish recipies and go to class in your most festive green outfits you can find. I know if I don’t, my English Literature professor will be very disappointed. 

A special on campus celebration note: We will be having a Holi Celebration (Indian Spring Festival) that day. For more info, you can check out the CAB Events page here!

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