Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, died on this day in 461, and has been regarded as a saint in Ireland since that time. The first known secular celebration of his feast day was a quarter-millennium ago, on this day in 1756 at the Crown and Thistle Tavern at New York City. Patrick was a great missionary, largely responsible for converting the Irish from their pagan heritage to Christianity, but the story about driving snakes into the sea has no historical support and I've never heard any good reason why kids that forget to wear green today will get pinched!
Although my heritage is obviously Italian, my step father Thomas W. Barry was Irish, born and raised on Cherry Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I can remember as early as 9 or 10 being told I needed to wear green today [:)] – Tom passed away some years ago, so in his honor here are a few memorable quotes:
“If you kids don't knock it off, I will take these stairs two at a time!” – Spoken as he stood at the bottom of the stairs, while my brother Mike and I were making a considerable amount of noise in our room, when we were supposed to be asleep.
“Wish in one hand, and sh*t in the other and see which one fills up faster.” – Spoken anytime my brother and I said those famous words, “I want…” or “I wish I had…”
And last but not least his favorite toast (forgive me if I mess it up, it's been a long time since I've heard it):
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And May you be in heaven a full half hour
before the devil knows your dead.
Hope you all have a very Happy Saint Patrick's Day!