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Friday, March 08, 2013

Decorating For St. Patrick's Day

Where I live, in SC, we don't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Although that may be changing due to marketing. It gives retailers another holiday to make money. Home decor, party decorations, beer and alcohol sales, costumes, knick knacks, gifts. So they are trying to make it another important holiday. Unfortunately a lot of people use it as another excuse to get drunk. Like they need another reason! Green beer? Give me a break! They drink when they are sad, drink when they are happy, drink to celebrate, drink because there is nothing to celebrate, drink because they are alone, drink at a party, drink to tailgate and drink to watch it on TV, on and on. I also don't like the "Luck of the Irish" silliness. There is no such thing as "luck". As far as I'm concerned every good and perfect gift comes from God and I believe in thanking Him for my blessings. If you could talk to old St. Patrick today, he would tell you the same and would be ashamed at the carousing that goes on in his name.

Who is St. Patrick?

Saint Patrick (c. 385–3/17/460 or 461 AD), One of the patron saints of Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. For Christians, the day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. He was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Born to Calpornius, his father was a deacon and his grandfather, Potitus, a priest. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland". Two authentic letters from him survive, from which come the only generally-accepted details of his life, the Declaration (Latin: Confessio) and the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus (Latin: Epistola). When he was about 16, he was captured from his home and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years working as a herdsman. He said his faith grew during that time. After six years he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away, where he found a ship and, after various adventures, returned home to his family, now in his early twenties. Escaping he returned to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. He arrived in Ireland in 432, ministered in Ulster around 443, and died in 457 or 461. The text, however, distinguishes between "Old Patrick" and "Patrick, archapostle of the Scots," who died in 492. The actual dates of Patrick's life cannot be fixed with certainty but, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland. Much of the Declaration concerns charges made against St. Patrick by his fellow Christians at a trial. What these charges were, he does not say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the gifts which wealthy women gave him, did not accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and indeed paid for many gifts to kings and judges, and paid for the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It is concluded, that he was accused of some sort of financial impropriety, and perhaps of having obtained his bishopric in Ireland with personal gain in mind. He writes that he "baptised thousands of people". He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too. St. Patrick's position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution. The absence of snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that they had all been banished by St. Patrick. chasing them into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill. Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on. (Thanks to Wikipedia.)

There is nothing wrong with making a day special. Kids love having something different going on. It can make good memories. Add a little green food coloring to some lemonade, some cookies in a four leaf clover shape, tell the story of St. Patrick. There is nothing wrong with that. It's all about the intent of the heart and the way you celebrate it. Don't teach your children that "luck" has something to do with their life but that God loves them and is always working on their best interests and to make them into people they can be proud of. Good times and bad times, God is always there to work it out in your life. If you cooperate, He can take the worst and make it into something good... the real pot of gold.

I looked on the Internet to find some tasteful St. Patrick's Day home decor. Decorating for St. Patrick's Day doesn't have to be an every room project. Decorating your table, putting a few things in the entrance hall and living room is enough. I come from English/Irish/Scottish/German roots. I wondered why certain things are iconic of the holiday such as bright green, leprechauns, four leaf clovers, moss, pot of gold, rainbow, etc. So I looked it up.

Four leaf clovers - The three-leaf shamrock was used by St. Patrick as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity. Each leaf represents something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck. A four leaf clover is much more rare than the three leaf clover, approximately 10,000 to 1.

Leprechaun and the rainbow with the pot of gold - Is a male fairy in Irish folklore. The Leprechauns spend all their time busily making shoes, and store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the Leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release. The Tuatha Dé Danann ("peoples of the goddess Danu") are a race of people in Irish mythology. In the invasions tradition which begins with the Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book Of Taking Ireland), they are the fifth group to settle Ireland, conquering the island from the Fir Bolg. The invasion traditions is from ancient literary traditions that concern the godlike peoples who allegedly arrived in five migratory invasions into Ireland, and principally recount the doings of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It comprises one of the four major cycles of early Irish literary tradition, the others being the Ulster cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Cycle of the Kings. The characters appearing in the cycle are for all intents and purposes are gods from the pre-Christian pagan past in Ireland. However, commentators exercising caution qualify them as representing only "godlike" beings, and not gods. This is because the Christian scribes who composed the writings were generally (though not always) careful not to refer to the Tuatha Dé Danann and other beings explicitly as deities. They are nonetheless thinly veiled disguises, and in these writings are discernable vestiges of early Irish polytheistic cosmology. Examples of works from the cycle include numerous prose tales, verse texts, as well as pseudo-historical chronicles (primarily the Lebor Gabála Érenn (LGE), commonly called The Book of Invasions) found in medieval vellum manuscripts or later copies. The god-folk dwelled terrestrially and ruled over Ireland in kingship before the age of mortal men. Afterwards, the Tuatha Dé Danann are said to have retreated into the sídhe (fairy mounds), cloaking their presence by raising the féth fiada (fairy mist). Having disappeared but not died, the deities oftentimes make "guest appearances". (Thank you, Wikipedia.) Therefore, leprechauns and fairies are appearances of these people. This is pagan.

Here are some photos of Ireland which explains the green! Also, the fact that we celebrate St. Patrick's Day on the anniversary of his death, 3/17, when Spring is getting started and new grass is bright green!










So here are some ways to decorate.




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