My First St. Patrick’s Day Event!
St. Patrick is one of the saints I admire because of his courage and endurance even at a young age. According to one of his life stories, St. Patrick was abducted by thieves when he was young and sold into slavery in Ireland where he worked as a shepherd which lasted until he was 20 years of age. The hardships and trials he encountered being a slave led him to a deep and profound spirituality. He escaped after years of captivity and went back to his homeland in Scotland and was reunited with his family. He studied priesthood and was ordained priest and later became bishop but was sent back to Ireland for a mission. Despite the odds, St. Patrick was able to preach the Gospel, convert many Irish people to Christianity for 40 years, and build churches throughout the country. He lived in poverty and endured so much suffering until his death on March 17, 461. Hence, the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s day on the 17th of this month.
In New York City, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is considered as one of the major tourist attractions, which is a great experience if you are visiting the Big Apple on a crisp spring day break. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is the main highlight of this event where hundreds of thousands of marchers are participating and a vast crowd of spectators along the fabulous street of 5th Avenue and where the St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands. What is exciting in this event is the unique color green overshadowing the entire gathering. Regardless of nationality and creed, people wear something green and silver or some gold glittered green hats and accessories in a festive atmosphere
I recall my first St. Patrick’s day event was a memorable one. As I didn’t want to disappoint my Irish-descent friends in the community and for St. Patrick’s sake, I bravely went to the designated venue of the party on a rainy, windy and cold stormy night! But the effort was all worth it, I got the chance to watch the program with young Irish Americans dancing the traditional dance in their costumes and with Irish music being played. It was also my first time to taste an authentic Irish dish (corned beef with cabbage, among others) minus the alcoholic drinks of course! Likewise, it was the first time that the 1st Annual Soda Bread Contest was held in the said community. I had this really funny experience about the soda bread. All along I thought that the main ingredient of soda bread is soda (soft drinks like coca cola or any soda), ha ha ha, poor me! Until I was corrected by my friend that for soda bread, the “baking soda” is being used as a rising agent instead of yeast! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to savor the taste, particularly that of the grand winner’s entree! It had probably the more exquisite taste of a home made soda bread than those found in NYC’s bakeshops.
Sure, the color green and the “shamrock” symbol were visible but what was important was the camaraderie among themselves, the fun and the pride of their culture and heritage. This kind of mood is contagious that even the non-Irish New Yorkers consider themselves as one of them on St. Patrick’s Day!
To all of you, Beannachtai na Feile Padraig agat! Blessings of the Feast of Patrick to you! St. Patrick, pray for us.
According to the legend, St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Blessed Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.