Time for the Wearing of the Green in Marshall, Illinois

On one particular day of the year, everyone is Irish no matter what nationality they are. Every March 17th, we break out the green shirts, skirts, sweaters, ties, and goofy clothing paraphernalia and celebrate with the enthusiasm of a leprechaun. Who doesn’t love to wear a funny hat or green bowtie to show pride in the Irish heritage that helped make America great?

Green beer, corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and Shepard’s pie will likely grace the menus of the local eateries and many of the kitchens of Marshall. Green cupcakes are always fun, too—something for the kids (and adults) to indulge in.

The holiday falls on a Thursday this year, so the festivities might extend into the weekend. Check your local pubs and watering holes to see where you can go to celebrate, maybe hear some Irish music, and do a little dancing. Just don’t overdo it.

 

Some Saint Patrick’s Day Traditions and Superstitions:

 

Why do we wear green anyway?

Folklore tells us that green makes you invisible to leprechauns. The little imps like to pinch people, but no can do if dthey can’t see you. Moreover, Ireland is known as The Emerald Isle because of its lush green landscapes. There is a green stripe in the Irish flag, which is supposed to represent the Catholics of Ireland. In contrast, the orange stripe represents the Protestants. The white between them offers the hope of peace between the two religious’ sectors.

Oddly enough, St Patrick’s color was sky blue, but now we associate the wearing of the green as good luck. At the same time, orange is still considered offensive to wear on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Why do we eat corned beef and cabbage?

Truthfully, that’s an Irish American tradition because when the Irish came to America, they weren’t exactly prosperous. The cured meat was cheap and lasted longer, and cabbage was, and still is, even more affordable.

Why do we wear Shamrocks and 4-leaf clovers?

As far back as the 1600s, clovers and shamrocks were easily found growing everywhere. They were used to add color and pomp to the church clothes worn by the Irish attending services.

Should I actually honor the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” tradition?

The idea comes from the tradition of kissing the famous Blarney Stone. Supposedly, if you kiss the stone in Blarney Castle, you will be given the gift of gab and become an eloquent and charming speaker. It’s up to you if you choose to kiss an Irish person or not, though!

 

Why all the parades?

Well, they’re just plain fun. The Irish have always been a prideful group. They love their heritage, food, music, and dancing. They love to enjoy life and celebrate that heritage in a big way. Some of the best parades in the world happen on Saint Patrick’s Day, the biggest one being in New York City. On average, as many as 150,000 people participate in the parade in NYC every year, with three million people lining the streets to see the spectacle.

Most major cities in America hold a Saint Patrick’s Day parade, none as big as New York, but many are pretty darn impressive. The closest one for Marshall citizens to attend would likely be in Chicago, where tradition has the river running green in color. They initially used the green dye to trace sewage but soon recognized that it added a festive look to the Irish holiday. Chicago, like New York, has always had a large Irish population, and they are the places to be if you want to party, even with some of the city’s police force. The Irish often went into police work when they immigrated. Many of their offspring continued in that profession through the decades.

Attend church if you want to honor this patron saint

We should remember that Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday no matter what else the holiday brings. It has always been a way to honor Ireland’s patron saint. It’s an important religious holiday for Catholics, especially Irish Catholics. Attending mass is an excellent way to honor the man who drove the snakes out of Ireland.

So, grab your shillelagh, don your green attire, your funny hat, and shamrock pin, and enjoy the day. Enjoy some Irish food, grab a Guinness if you’re old enough to drink and are so inclined. Then tip your silly green plastic hat to Saint Pat and to a proud group of people who helped shape our great nation.