Saturday, March 11, 2017

March 17th The Wearing of the Green!

March 17th is a festive holiday for those of Irish decent. St Patrick's Day was and is basically a religious remembrance of St Patrick, a fifth century Missionary and Bishop in Ireland. He is the primary Patron Saint of Ireland and was known as the "Apostle of Ireland" As we are about to celebrate his holiday, March 17 is a remembrance of the Day of St Patrick's death.We will celebrate with joy, music and laughter.
Today is also the day for wearing of the "Green" and displaying Shamrocks. It is said the 3-leaf Shamrock plant was used By St.Patrick to explain the "Holy Trinity". The color green has been associated with Ireland since the 1640's. Because this was the Lenten season, the restrictions on food and drink were strictly observed., and the Mass was attended daily.

I grew up in Massachusetts, where there was and still is a large Irish population . The Irish potato famine or the "Great Famine" as it is still called occurred from 1845-1849.  It was during this time that the mass immigration of Irish families came into Boston and New York, The wonderful lilt of the brogue was common.

 A new adventure brought about by tragedy, but they graced all of us with their culture, which is the basis of our parades, festivals . Boston and New York have huge parades , playing of the pipes, and individual celebrations with clogging, Irish music and of course Green Beer!   The pubs will have a brisk business on this festive day!. Families will serve traditional foods, Corned Beef and cabbage, Irish Lamb Strew and of course Irish Soda Bread.   There are many recipes for Soda bread, but I will share one that a Dear friend always made. Her family was from Connemara .

 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour -  2 tsp salt -
 1 tabs sugar- 2 tsp baking soda- 2 tabs Butter and 1 1/4 C 
buttermilk. If the buttermilk is not rich enough add some butter to it.  Mix all dry ingredients and then mix the butter-milk in with a fork. Flour your hands and shape dough to fit into an 8 inch round pan. Bake at 400 degrees for approx 35 minutes. This makes 1 loaf.  If you choose you can also add raisins. It is absolutely yummy with good Irish butter.

I live in Florida now . When you see the huge tents begin to appear at O'keefe's Bar and restaurant in Clearwater Florida, you know that the PARTY is about to begin. March 16 and 17, the Irish Beer Festival will treat you to Bagpipers , Irish dancers, Irish  Buskers , the Greg Billings Irish band and a lot more!

The legends say that St Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland, if there ever were snakes in Ireland, but he did leave us with a wonderful heritage of a strong faith  and a love of life!   As the day draws near, as the little fellow says , " Top of the Morning to you".  While you celebrate, stay safe  and share the fun.  By the way these wonderful post cards were 
borrowed from   I will leave you now with the traditional Irish Blessing, that means everything good.

In Memory of My Dear Friend, Lois, who shared her Irish Soda bread recipe for all to enjoy.

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