In America, Saint Patrick’s Day has long been a day full of celebration and not just for those with Irish roots. It seems that everyone is willing to wear green clothing, eat corned beef and cabbage and indulge in a green beer or two…or three.
But what do we really know about the man responsible for the celebration, Saint Patrick himself? Throughout time the facts and legends surrounding Saint Patrick have morphed together, resulting in many of the symbols and stories that we currently associate with the holiday.
It’s often said that Saint Patrick is responsible for getting rid of all the snakes in Ireland. While it is true that Ireland is snake free today, the truth is that no snakes ever lived on the island to begin with because the ocean surrounding Ireland is much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from other places. However, snakes often represent darkness and evil in literature. When it is written that Saint Patrick rid Ireland of snakes, it is a way of saying that he drove out the old pagan ways of the Druids and is largely responsible for converting Ireland to Christianity.
The shamrock is another symbol that goes hand-in-hand with Saint Patrick’s Day. According to legend, Saint Patrick used a shamrock to explain God to the Druids because he knew that the Druids believed in the holiness of the clover due to the sacred symbol formed by the shamrocks three leaves. Saint Patrick said that the shamrock was a representation of the Trinity, that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is also said that Saint Patrick’s followers wore a shamrock on his feast day.
The color green that is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in very much the same way that the color red is associated with Valentine’s Day. Green is worn in celebration of Saint Patrick is also a representation of Ireland as the “Emerald Isle”, the shamrock and spring.
Living in the greater Brandon area, we are lucky enough to have several Irish restaurants and pub’s to go to and celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.
O’Toole’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, located at 1215 W. Brandon Blvd., will be having happy hour all day until 7 p.m. with $4 Sam Adams pints, $3 Same Adams bottles and $5 Finlandia and Red Bull. There will also be a live band playing great music. For more information, call 684-2600.
The Brass Tap, located at the Brandon Mall, will be kicking off their Saint Patrick’s Day Irish Party at 12 Noon and will continue until close. The event will have a variety of festive beers, live music on stage and fun for all who attends. For more information, call 654-4712.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will be focusing on family fun this St. Patrick’s Day. At both the FishHawk and Valrico locations there will be kids face painting, Irish Olympics and the Queen of Fun will be handing out prizes to guests. Beefs will also be offering traditional plates of corned beef and cabbage as well as rounds of green beer for the adults. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s FishHawk is located at 16773-16775 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Valrico is located at 4330 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico.