Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day …The Carolina Way! By: Bev Filer

409px-Kilbennan_St__Benin's_Church_Window_St__Patrick_Detail_2010_09_16Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, not only in Ireland and the United States, but in many other countries around the world.  Though it is to honor Saint Patrick, it may be the joy and fun of the celebration that appeals to so many in so many countries. But did you know that the original holiday was a religious holiday and up until the 1970’s Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17? It is hard to imagine St. Patrick’s Day without green beer flowing! Beginning in 1995, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world. Today approximately one million people annually take part in Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, outdoor theater productions, and fireworks show. Sounds like a fun trip to me…Just imagine Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin!

Folks at Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort have lots of ways to celebrate Saint Patrick and the Irish. Just a few minutes away, you can begin with the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival on Main Street of North Myrtle Beach on Saturday, March 16.  The largest parade on the Grand Strand begins at 9am with the Festival from 11am – 4pm…Check it out more @ http://parks.nmb.us  There is another Saint Patrick’s Day celebration on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, also on Saturday, March 16 from noon to midnight with a Free Concert.   I will list the schedule of bands for this celebration at the end of this blog. There is even more “Fun in the Sun” at various near-by locations on March 17.

How much do you know about Saint Patrick and why we celebrate his special day? I was wondering that myself and found some interesting information about this Patron Saint whose life we celebrate every March 17, which is actually the day he died around A.D. 460. He was retired to County Down in Ireland at the time, after his mission lasted for over 30 years.

Saint Patrick was actually born with the given name of Maewyn in Wales, (Known as Roman Britain at the time). His father was a Christian deacon and his parents were supposedly considered to be wealthy. However, Patrick was taken prisoner at the age of 16 by Irish raiders attacking his family’s estate.  He spent six years in captivity where he served as a shepherd.  Since he was away from people, lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace. It is believed that this is when he first dreamed of converting the Irish people to Christianity.

After more than six years in captivity, Patrick escaped.  According to his writing, a voice – which he believed to be God – spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was being held, to the Irish Coast.  After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he had a second revelation – an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick began religious training, studying in a monastery under St. Germaine bishop of Auxerre for a period of 12 years. During his training he got the notion that his calling was to convert the pagans the Christianity.

Though he was quite successful in winning converts, he upset the Celtic Druids, who had their own native religion. Patrick was arrested and escaped several times.  He traveled through Ireland, setting up monasteries across the country.  He also set up schools and churches which would help him in converting the Irish country to Christianity.

There are some Maewyn Myths in Irish folklore that surrounds Saint Patrick’s Day:

  • One such story says that Patrick gave a sermon on a hilltop that drove the snakes out of Ireland . However, no snakes were ever native to Ireland. Most people think it is a metaphor for the conversion of the pagans.
  •  One traditional icon of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock. This stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that  tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity.  He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as elements of the same entity. Followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

 Though originally a Catholic holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a more secular holiday. People celebrate the holiday with parades, “wearing of the green”, and drinking beer…especially green bear! Saint Patrick’s Day also takes place a few days before the first day of spring…Another day to celebrate with green.

Of course, there is also Irish music, another important part of the Irish culture, even from the ancient days of the Celts. Today traditional Irish bands, like the Clancy Brothers and The Chieftains, are very popular. They use instruments that have been used for centuries, including the fiddle, uilleann pipes (a rather elaborate bagpipe), and tin whistle.

 Enjoy your Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations and honor the beloved Saint with the joy and “Spirit of the Irish”! As I noted, there are many ways to do this locally.  I will list a few, as well as the schedule bands performing at the Downtown Myrtle Beach Free Concert on March 16. Erin Go Bragh!

 “Get Your Green On” in the Myrtle Beach Area:

  • Gathering of the Green 5 p.m. March 15, downtown Conway…Event includes live bands, green beer, food samples, fire breathers and a silent auction.
  •  St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival  Parade @ 9 a.m. March 16 Main Street in North Myrtle Beach & Festival 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Festival has food, entertainment, and vendor booths.
  • Irish Fest 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. March 16, The Market Common Enjoy beer, Irish food, kids’ zone activities and more a 4th annual event in Valor Park. Music by Painted Man along with a variety of vendors and entertainment.
  • Downtown Myrtle Beach’s Saint  Patrick’s Day Celebration noon til midnight March 16, Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach near the Boardwalk … Saint Patrick’s Day Party includes Irish food and beer, kids’ zone, contests, games and more.     

         Featured Bands:

  • 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Broken Strings
  • 1:15 – 1:45 MB Regional Pipe & Drum Band
  • 1:45 – 2:45p.m. Band on the Rum
  • 2:45 – 3:15 MB Regional Pipe and Drum Band
  • 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Bullfrog
  • 4:15 – 4:45 NY Shields Pipe & Drum
  • 4:45 – 5:45 Paul Grimshaw Band
  • 5:45 – 6:15 NY Shields Pipes & Drums

Bands also listed on website to entertain include:

  • Passafire
  • Weaving the fate
  • Austin Mowery

For more info:  www.mbdowntownstpats.com

 “Luck of the Irish to YA!” We’d love to hear from you how you enjoyed your Saint Patrick Day Celebration! Your comments are appreciated!

 Reference for article:www.history.com & wilstar.com

 

 

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