Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Did You Know?

There are 36.5 million U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. That's almost nine times the population of Ireland itself. (And ThirtyWhat is proud to be one of those 36.5 million. My Mom grew up listening to my great-grandfather tell stories about coming over ... but that's a post in and of itself.)

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish. About 41.5 billion pounds and 2.6 billion pounds of U.S. beef and cabbage, respectively, were sold in 2007.(Corned beef? Yum! Cabbage? I will never be that Irish.)

Irish Soda Bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda instead of yeast as the leavening agent. (Not from Grape Soda, as ThirtyWhat would prefer ...)

Over 100 St. Patrick's Day parades take place around the United States, but the parades in New York City and Boston are the largest. (None, however, can compare to "Whacking Day" which features Barry White.)

St. Patrick was neither Irish nor particularly religious, at least not initially. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in 385 CE in the Welsh town of Banwen, and for the first sixteen years of his life he was an avowed pagan. (Thank God he changed his name. Can you imagine ... Happy St. Maewyn Succat Day?)

The myth that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland into the Irish Sea is just that -- a myth! Many locals still insist that the serpents were drowned in the Irish Sea by Saint Patrick, causing their seas to be so rough. The truth, however, is that serpents where never native to Ireland. (Blaspheme! Again, I direct you to "Whacking Day.")

Our neighbors to the north in Chicago celebrate St. Patrick's Day by dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962. Today, 40 tons of dye is used, which keeps the river green for several hours. (Who knew? I always assumed it was just a combination of green beer and a lot of public urination.)

Guinness, the most famous of Irish dark stouts, was first brewed in Dublin Ireland in 1759. More than 1.9 billion pints of Guinness are drank around the world every year. (Not one of which is drank by ThirtyWhat. I couldn't gag a Guinness down if you paid me.)

And so, Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone. May God grant you always ... A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel so no one may harm you. Laughter to cheer you, faithful friends near you, and whenever you pray, for Heaven to hear you.

We're as stubborn as mules
With our blood on fire
When we ain't at Sunday mass
We'll look any man straight in his eyes and say
Kiss my Irish ass!

Flogging Molly - Kiss My Irish Ass

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