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Green up for spring

March 16, 2018
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

St. Patrick's Day is Saturday March 17. A time to wear, eat, drink or buy some greens.

Some history: St. Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17, the traditional death date of St. Patrick, the foremost Patron Saint of Ireland, and commemorating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

This is an early 17th century, official feast day that has evolved over the years into a verity of festivities around the world to celebrate Irish Culture, special foods, parades, dancing and wearing of the green.

St. Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat, into a wealthy family. He was not a religious child, but at the age of 16 he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. He was forced to work as a shepperd for the Irish invaders, for years.

He found his faith in the fields and after hearing the word of God encouraging him to escape, he walked hundreds of miles, and after a ship voyage, he returned to England.

He received a vision from an angel telling him to return to Ireland. He underwent missionary training for 15 years and returned to Ireland.

He converted many Irish pagans and spread his religion throughout the country for 40 years.

He became a Bishop and after his death was named Ireland's Patron Saint.

The green shamrock, with its three leaves representing the Holy Trinity, became his symbol.

When the Irish immigrated to the United States, they celebrated on St. Patrick's Day with fun and celebrations to remind them of their roots.

At one point in 1962, the Chicago River began turning green for the St. Patty's Day celebrations. The city fathers must have had a bit of the Irish in them.

Corned beef and cabbage became the Irish-American dish of the day. Immigrants were poor and this was a great feast in every home.

Vice President Mike Pence has Irish roots, as did President John F. Kennedy, at least 8 signers of the Declaration of Independence, including four of the Founding Fathers. Do you?

President Donald Trump, never one to miss a good time, declared March 2018 American Heritage Month. So, Irish, American or Irish-American - celebrate the "wearing of the green."

Visit the Irish-American Festival, have a green beer and dance a little.

Eat corned beef and cabbage at your favorite restaurant.

Buy some green plants.

However, finding a four-leaf clover may be a bit time consuming.

My best Irish treat is a green milkshake at the Golden Arches.

The first day of spring is next Tuesday, the 20. With a little Irish luck, maybe we will be seeing the end of wearing of the coat and gloves every morning!

Happy greens and gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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