Sunday, March 18, 2007

Some ongoings and Musings on Saint Patrick's Day

Before yesterday, the three things that I know about Saint Patrick’s Day are that it falls on March 17, i.e., yesterday, it’s celebrated by the Irish people, and it’s a wear-green day. But that would soon change as the day progressed.

Since our S is back on Spring Break from UF, we decided to show him our newly acquired home, which is going to be his too. The entourage included his friend, Alexandra. The image below shows several shots of the inside of our soon-to-be-new home, albeit empty at this time, and the surroundings.

While on our way, we passed several restaurants featuring special Saint Patrick’s Day menu. So we decided to pick a restaurant that celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day as a theme for lunch, and settled on Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern along Fletcher Avenue not far from University Mall.

Sure enough, the place was decorated with green clover-shaped leaf designs and the restaurant’s helpers were all wearing green. So were some of the patrons. The right image is a miniature but exquisite piece of cut leaf decoration loosely wrapped around the light fixture above our table.

At first, we ordered Grilled Salmon for me and my wife. Soon after, the waitress returned, breaking the news that they were out of Salmon. So we settled for our second choices as shown here (the names of the dishes escaped me). The top left is my wife’s and the top right is my choice. Our D order the bottom left, with the food secured in a metal contraption. The remaining two are my wife’s order of Irish coffee (what else on Saint Patrick’s Day?), and the dessert dish of caramel-dripped creme brulee cheese cake.

The food was great, and so concluded our very first Saint Patrick’s Day lunch. Upon reaching home after a detour stop at the local library for my D to pick up a collection of used books for her Spring Break, which is just coming up, reading (soft cover goes for $0.50 while hard cover, $1. I too checked out the latest thriller novel by Brad Thor, one of my favorite authors of the Scot Harvath’s saga as a Secret Service man, more on that perhaps later in a another blog), I was trying to google Saint Patrick’s Day to learn more of the Irish Festival.

And this is what I found out as the gist of the Saint Patrick’s Day here. First, the man himself:
  • Believed to have been born in the late fourth century, Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland.
And on Saint Patrick’s Day:
  • While Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish (anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck), Saint Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.
  • Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th because that is the day that St. Patrick died, according to one theory.
As with Christmas, the religious and spiritual underpinning of the occasion has been swept aside seemingly by the deluge of hedonistic reveling and the ubiquitous stamp of commercialism. Later in the day, I could see throngs of people spilling on to the side walk at what seemed to be Irish Pubs, mug in hands and chattering to loud background music.

I’m glad that I have made the effort to know more about the Saint Patrick’s Day and I hope that the spiritual message that Saint Patrick’s Day brings is not lost amidst the celebrations.

1 comment:

Kitty Girl said...

This past St. Paddy's Day, Dan too wanted to find out the history behind it. I think this goes to show that many people 'celebrate' a holiday without truly knowing the meaning behind it, or, as you put it, "the religious and spiritual underpinning of the occasion has been swept aside seemingly by the deluge of hedonistic reveling and the ubiquitous stamp of commercialism". Indeed, it seems the basic ingredients of 'celebrating' St. Paddy's day are: some form of green clothing, and alcohol.

Of course, as schoolchildren we learned about the man behind it and the meaning, but as adults it seems the most important thing is getting drunk. Especially more so since supposedly, the Irish drink a lot, which I guess to the revelers here, is a nod to them. "Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day," so I've heard.

On that day itself, Dan and I sojourned the famed Porland Saturday Market, which runs from March till about September, both wearing a bit of green, then retreating to one of the more quiet Irish pubs for lunch. At night we went out with some friends (although no alcohol passed my lips!!!), and you could see St. Paddy's Day revelers in full form. I personally think it's a very stupid thing to get drunk (what can I say, I was raised well *halo*), but to each his own, I guess.