Its widely known that St. Patricks Day is a religious holiday commemorating Irelands influential fifth-century Christian missionary and patron saint, which easily explains the holiday's emphasis on green. But where, one might ask, do shamrocks, leprechauns and the Blarney Stone fit in?
Actually, shamrocks have a legitimate connection to St. Patrick, who apparently used the three-leafed plant as an analogy for the Trinity showing how three separate elements could be of the same entity.
Relations become more shaky, or shall we say nonexistent, when it comes to leprechauns. Although Irish in origin, leprechauns have no direct association with St. Patrick. Described as mischief-making elves, leprechauns are characterized as aloof and unfriendly. They are depicted as small, old men about two feet tall, shoemakers by trade, who possess a hidden pot of gold. The challenge, of course, comes in capturing the illusive little creatures and gaining possession of their treasures.
Likewise, the history of the Blarney Stone is not entwined with St. Patrick. Set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the village of Blarney, the stone is believed to offer the power of persuasive eloquence to those who kiss it. Why? Legend has it an old women cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. By kissing the stone, he gained the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.
Today, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish, so it's not surprising that other national symbols surface every March 17. Why not join the fun? Pin on your shamrocks, keep your eyes open for those leprechauns, and pucker up the Blarney Stone awaits!
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