Today is ‘the day of the Festival of St. Patrick’. It is a day set aside to commemorate the patron saint of Ireland, a man who became a missionary that introduced many people to the Christian faith. In Ireland, it is a holy holiday, where families attend church services and later gather in celebration.
There are many stories surrounding Saint Patrick, but the legend of the shamrock is my favorite one. According to the stories, St. Patrick used the three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish; one leaf for God, one leaf for Jesus, one leaf for the Holy Spirit. Three different entities as part of one whole.
Saint Patrick’s commitment to teaching the Gospel to his countrymen touches on common interest with me. I love telling people about my church. There is nothing that makes me happier than when friends and family accept my invitations to come with me and enjoy a service. My greatest treasure isn’t keeping it to myself, but sharing it with everyone else. The message today was about spiritually filling the buckets of others, by sharing our faith. As I sat listening to the message, I thought about what Saint Patrick must have endured to preach during a time when pagan gods were more popular than Jesus.
In celebration, I like to change up the meal agenda: jelly-slathered Irish soda bread for breakfast, green vanilla pudding with sprinkles alongside lunch, cornbeef with cabbage and potatoes for dinner, and mint green ice cream followed as dessert. We also sported green, tossed on some beads and cheesy plastic leis and head out to watch a parade.
The first parade held in honor of Saint Patrick was not in Ireland, but in New York City, circa 1762. It started as an American tradition, so it never feels quite like a celebration until we are spectators of a local parade. Despite the temperature hovering just under 40°F, we hit the streets. Boston boasts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades and though we’re blessed to live close to the city, the colder weather forced us to stay closer to home.
Many people were out for the Abington parade, gathered up and down Washington Street. It starts promptly at 1pm every year. We found great standing room, even though there were crowds of people and we were running 10 minutes late.
Music floated on the air, played by stereos representing local radio stations and DJs. Dropkick Murphy’s ‘Shipping up to Boston’ was a definite favorite. Trumpets blasted and drums thumped as bands marched down the street, flags flying high from the colorguard. There were roller derby girls on skates, a guy on stilts, Irish stepdancing and the reedy tunes of bagpipes. Candy was tossed in plentiful amounts to all the children and we even got a free hat from Abington Bank.
Of all the fun floats, this little guy was my favorite. He trotted along as a representative of the Abington Animal Hospital.
I just love his little hat!