Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

The wedding cloth I sewed (am sewing still) for my sister's wedding: the Irish Claddagh meaning, "I give to thee my heart, promising eternal fidelity." claddagh ring lore
Our second grade curriculum focuses on fables and stories of saints.  This has afforded us the opportunity to explore the backgrounds of several holidays that we've have always wanted to know more about (speaking for myself I guess). This has included the feast of St. Francis in which we took our chickens to church for an animal blessing, and of course, today, St. Patrick's Day. So far this has also included other less culturally known saint days such as Michaelmas, Martinmas, St. Lucia, Epiphany/ 3 Kings Day, and Candlemas/ Feast of St. Brigid/ Groundhog's Day. I am looking forward to Joan of Arc as well. But back to today...

Saint Patrick's day is just too fun because I am married to a red head who everyone assumes is Irish. Once at a St. Patrick's Day parade he was sporting an authentic wild red beard and we laughed so hard to see someone in the parade wearing a fake beard just like it in attempt to appear more Irish!  He tried to sneak out today without wearing green, figuring his eyes were green enough.  On second thought he snuck back in and I caught him in a green dress shirt and driver's cap- much more Irish looking!  It's also fun because Fairy Girl has been studying Irish Dance through Haran School of Irish Dance.  And though I am not Irish, I am now an Irish sympathizer.

Modern celebrations are full of making merry, parades and wearin' the green.  But through studying St. Patrick, we've learned how St. Patrick wasn't Irish, but dedicated his life to peacefully sharing Christ with the Druids and early Irish people in the mid 400's AD.  He established the first churches and monasteries and used the shamrock as a visual aid in his explanation of the Holy Trinity. We also learned that those churches were responsible for the training up over the centuries through the middle ages, amazing numbers of bards, poets, missionaries, and scholars. In my preparation for this unit I also read of the demoralizing rule of the English who clear cut the great old oaks growing in Ireland and made it illegal for Irish Catholics to own land and hold offices in government until the 1900's. Queen Victoria refused to let her Irish guards wear shamrocks on their lapels on St. Patrick's Day, so now I have a better understanding of the cultural significance of wearing green to show Irish solidarity.

And now, an updated picture of my laddie sporting both personas: his baby dragon shirt from his auntie for his 4th birthday and his orca whale messenger bag I made for his 5th birthday. Here's a toast to their continued peaceful coexistence!

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