Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sláinte! To Your Health!

"Sláinte!" "To your health!", is what I wish to all of you on this fine St.Patrick's Day! In Northern Ireland -what some still call Ulster - there are three main official languages: There's English,Irish(Gaelic), and Ulster-Scots. "Cheers", in Northern Ireland, is Sláinte(to your health)! "Cheers!" in The Republic of Ireland is the same: "Sláinte!" They're the Irish, after all! "Guid forder!"(good luck) is the toast for the Ulster-Scots. Thanks to the Alternative Whiskey Academy, for this information, and "Sláinte!"
May God bring good health to your enemies enemies
May you live to be a hundred years,
with one extra year to repent.
May you be in heaven one half hour
before the devil knows you're dead.
As you slide down the banisters of life may the
splinters never point the wrong way.
There are many good reasons for drinking,
One has just entered my head,
If a man doesn't drink when he's living,
How the hell can he drink when he's dead?
May the best day of your past
be the worst day of your future.
May you get all your wishes but one,
So you always have something to strive for.

~ Part of an Irish Toast

From "St. Patrick's Day - Customs and Traditions":
Much Irish folklore surrounds St. Patrick's Day. Not much of it is actually substantiated.

Some of this lore includes the belief that Patrick raised people from the dead. He also is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. Of course, no snakes were ever native to Ireland, and some people think this is a metaphor for the conversion of the pagans. Though originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into more of a secular holiday.

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The St. Patrick's Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick's Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

Today, people celebrate the day with parades, wearing of the green, and drinking beer. One reason St. Patrick's Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring. One might say it has become the first green of spring.

Here's to you,
here's to me,
the best of friends we'll always be.
But if we ever disagree,
forget you here's to ME!!
Here's to your coffin...
May it be built of 100-year-old oaks
which I will plant tomorrow.
Here's to you as good as you are,
Here's to me as bad as I am,
As good as you are,
And as bad as I am,
I'm as good as you are,
As bad as I am.
~ Part of an Irish Toast

From "The History Channel":
The First Parade
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for thousands of years.

On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Over the next thirty-five years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies, like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.

You can find more here, including pictures and video (just ignore the AARP ad that runs for the first 30 seconds). A pretty nice article.

As for me on St. Paddy's Day, I have no great love for corned beef, no matter how well prepared. I prefer to simmer a "bullet ham" - we called it that because it was shaped like a fat bullet, wrapped in red waxed paper. It's usually called a Smoked Pork Shoulder Butt. The inner wrapper is usually a waxed paper, but the best are wrapped in netting. You simply remove the outer red packaging and put the ham, still encased in the inner wrapper, in a pot of boling water, then turn down to a simmer - with potatoes, cabbage, and string beans. I do enjoy a good beer, but spare me the green beer, please! What an appetite wrecker! Yeesh!
May the sons of your daughters smile up in your face.
Health, and long life to you
Land without rent to you
The partner of your heart to you
and when you die, may your bones rest in Ireland!
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.
~ Part of an Irish Toast

I don't drink to excess anymore, not since I was in my early twenties, so the modern expectation of drunken revelries as a way of celebrating is one I avoid. Why get drunk? Two beers is my usual limit, otherwise I do 'channel' my Irish forebears, becoming loquacious to the point of rudeness. I can tell when I've had enough: I talk too much!

So, friends, celebrate the holiday with your friends, drink wisely, eat well, and enjoy yourselves. And enjoy being Irish, even if for but a day!
An old Irish recipe for longevity:
Leave the table hungry.
Leave the bed sleepy.
Leave the bar thirsty.
I've drunk to your health in the pubs ,
I've drunk to your health in my home ,
I've drunk to your health so many times ,
That I've almost ruined my own.
~ Part of an Irish Toast

If you'd like to see some nice pictures, read some interesting writing, may I suggest that you amble over to benning's St. Patrick's Day Home. I think you might just enjoy it.



Tom said...

Thank you for the Irish poems!

camojack said...

I'm working all weekend...but I'll make time for a pint (or so) of Guinness.

Joubert said...

So St Patricks's Day is an excuse to break Lent? Not that I need an excuse. :)

benning said...

Nor I! Not being Catholic, nor of a Protestant denomination that observes Lent, I need give up nothing. But I did. I decided to forsake chocolate for the Lenten season this year. No M&Ms! *gasp!*

Come Easter I shall have some M&Ms to celebrate. ;)

camojack said...

OK, I had 3 pints of "Half & Half"...½ Guinness, ½ Harp.

For Lent I give up self-denial...

Brooke said...

I did well; only one green beer and one regular! :D


May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

The sun shine warm upon your face.

The rain fall soft on your fields.

And until we meet again...

May the God that loves us all-

Hold you in the palm of his hand.