Talk with the Doc: St. Patrick’s Day Irish history and humor

Dr. Jim Surrell, Journal columnist

Tomorrow we celebrate our annual Irish Holiday, known as St. Patrick’s Day. I am proud that I have some Irish ancestry in that my mother was 100 percent Irish. Let us now take at look at St. Patrick and the history of this highly celebrated holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick on March 17, 461. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years. Saint Patrick is known to be the Catholic Patron Saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was born in Britain, and he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped from being a slave in Ireland, but he then later returned to Ireland. He is credited with bringing Christianity to the people of Ireland.

As you know, green is the beautiful color associated with the country of Ireland. Further, Ireland is often referred to as “The Emerald Isle”. This is at least partially based on Ireland’s lush green countryside and expansive green pastureland. Ireland strongly associates with the color green to celebrate Ireland’s beautiful green landscape. Green certainly has become a strong and lasting symbol of Ireland.

Of interest, the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade is reported to have taken place in America. Historical records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony located in what is now the city of St. Augustine, Florida. More than two centuries later, in 1848, several New York Irish societies decided to unite their parades to form one official New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, the New York parade is the world’s oldest civilian parade and the largest parade in the United States, with over 150,000 participants. Each year, nearly 3 million people line the 1.5 mile parade route to watch the New York City parade. Many other USA cities, including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and others also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with large parades. Each of these large city parades nearly always involves between 10,000 and 20,000 participants.

Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, not only in Ireland, but also throughout the world in many other countries. These countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and in many others. Further, very popular St. Patrick’s Day recipes include Irish bread and potatoes, corned beef and cabbage, and other very tasty Irish food dishes. As we also see every year, many people will be wearing green as they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

For many years the city of Chicago has put an environmentally safe green dye into the Chicago River to make it turn green on St. Patrick’s Day. This practice has been a long Chicago tradition since 1962. Today, they only use a relatively small amount of green food dye, to minimize any environmental impact, and the river turns green for less than one day.

Of course, I can’t let you off without giving you a few silly clean Irish jokes. Please feel free to share them and remember that the Surrell rule is in effect, “No Groaning is Allowed”.

What is Irish and lives in your back yard all summer long? Patty O’Furniture.

When is an Irish Potato not Irish? When it’s a French Fry!

I asked a leprechaun to loan me $5.00. He said he couldn’t because he was a little short.

How can you tell if an Irishman is having a good time? He’s “Dublin” over with laughter!

I wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books.Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.


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