Honorary Irish counts, right? Regardless, we definitely welcome any opportunity to get out into our community and to celebrate; queue: St. Patrick’s Day! But, before you cheers that green beer, do you know what St. Patrick’s Day is really about? To clear the foam, ahem fog, here’s the low down:
Who was St. Patrick?
The patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick studied at monasteries in Ireland, was ordained a priest, and then a bishop. He battled many hardships with the pagans, particularly the druids who were refusing to convert to Christianity. Patrick traveled from town to town, tearing down idols and temples and establishing the Catholic Church, and eventually converting the whole island nation of Ireland was converted.
A serpent’s tale
Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland but in fact, Ireland never had any snakes as the weather was too miserable for the cold-blooded reptiles. However, the banished snakes were thought to be symbolic of the pagan druid priests with whom Patrick might have had a few issues to iron out.
The original color associated with St. Patrick was a light blue. The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
Why the shamrock?
According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
Where did all the leprechauns come from?
According to legend, these short, unfriendly Irish fairies live alone, pass the time making shoes, and possess a hidden pot of gold! If you ever catch a leprechaun, don’t let him out of your sight, once you look away he will vanish! Leprechauns are associated with St. Patrick’s Day, although the only reason they are is because they’re Irish. Go figure!
Saint Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain at the end of the 4th century AD and taken to Ireland by slavers when he was a teenager. The exact place of his birth is debatable as some say Scotland and some say Wales but, either way, he’s Irish now.
Ok, now that you know the basics, shall we celebrate with a few pints? We round up a list of bars and restaurants with St. Patrick’s Day specials to wet your whistle.
Pipers, dancers, and Irish Whiskey Hour
Joyce on 4th will open its doors at 10 am to get the festivities started nice and early. Make sure to stick around for the awesome door prizes they have lined up, and Irish Whiskey Hour from 3-4pm. Pipers and dancers will storm the scene just after 6 pm and are not to be missed!
Joyce on 4th, 506 24 Avenue S.W., 403.541.9168, calgarysbestpubs.com/joyce
Irish breakfast and $4 Guinness
If you have attended St. James’s festivities in past years, you know this place will be jam packed. Boasting $4 Guinness (10-11am), Irish breakfast, fiddles, and bands, this will be a party you won’t soon forget! Advanced tickets available in house or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. James Corner, 1219 1 Street S.W., 403.262.1157, stjamescorner.ca
Jameson’s, Keiths, and buckets o’ Big Rock
This will be the 30th year the Rose and Crown has partied like the Irish! Tons of drink specials and entertainment all day and night, including a special performance by The Smokin’ Clovers. It fills up quick so come early and, weather permitting, snag a seat on the patio! Jameson’s $5.99… Keith’s $6.99 … Buckets of Big Rock $24.00
Rose and Crown Pub, 1503 4 Street S.W., 403.244.7757, roseandcrowncalgary.ca
Guinness says 5.5 million pints of Guinness are sold on any given day, but this figure rises to an astounding 13 million on St. Patrick’s Day. Wowza! Will you be drinking Guinness next Thursday? We sure will be!
Have fun out there friends! Drink responsibly and wear some green to avoid the pinches. Cheers!
Photo credits: Flickr (Fiona Shields, LenDog64, Victoria Pickering, Marc Henklein)