St. Patrick's Day - The Meaning of It All

Who was St. Patrick?
St. Patrick was the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400's).
What are the St. Patrick's Day traditions?
Parades: The first American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. As the saying goes, on this day "everybody is Irish!" Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick's Day parades, the largest held in New York City. But we believe the best parade is in Savannah!

Savannah's Parade
: Savannahians began celebrating St. Patrick's Day in 1813 with a private gathering of the Hibernian Society, a group of Irish Protestants. The first parade was in 1818, organized by "The Fencibles." The Hibernians had their first public parade in 1824. Parades were not held in 1862 or 1864 due to the Civil War. In 1903, the cadets at the Benedictine Military School began marching in the Parade, an event that continues today (One of the most celebrated traditions of the parade is the "kissing of the Benedictine boys."). The Parade was not held in 1918, due to World War I or in 1921, out of respect for the Irish Revolution.
Wearing Green: The use of this color is associated with Saint Patrick's Day because it is the color of spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Leprechauns are probably the most famous 'green wearing' ambassadors of St. Patrick's Day.

What's good luck on Saint Patrick's Day?:
     Finding a four-leaf clover (that's double the good luck it usually is).
     Wearing green.
       (School age children in particular heed this requirement. Otherwise, they may be pinched!)
     Kissing the blarney stone.
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St. Patrick's Day Glossary:
Erin Go Braugh  Ireland Forever

Leprechaun
A leprechaun is an Irish fairy that looks like a small, old man. They are often portrayed with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns keep to themselves and are unfriendly. They also possess a hidden pot of gold.
Blarney stone
The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of 'persuasive eloquence' (blarney). The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) -- its walls are 18 feet thick (necessary to thwart attacks by Cromwellians and William III's troops). Thousands of tourists a year still visit the castle.
The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.
It's tough to reach the stone -- it's between the main castle wall and the parapet. Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward (and downward), holding iron bars for support.
Courtesy Savannah P.D.