Whether it’s your Irish Roots, Shamrocks, Green Beer or Leprechauns, there are plenty of fun and festive traditions for everyone to enjoy for St. Patricks!
Even though Ireland is far away, San Diegans know how to throw a great Irish Ceilidh! Shira Bliss, owner and founder of San Diego, Beer, Wine and Spirits Tours, and born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland says: “You’ll be chuffed to try one of our special St. Patrick’s Brewery or Distillery Tours that we’re running throughout the month of March! The luck of the Irish to you! Sláinte!”
What started as a religious feast to celebrate the patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has morphed in to an international phenomenon of fanfare and celebrations. The most prominent symbol associated with this holiday, the Shamrock, stemmed from the idea that St. Patrick used the three-leaved plant to explain the Christian Holy Trinity to the Pagan Irish, thus spreading the word of Christianity. In this same light, wearing the color green evolved from the tradition of picking a Shamrock and putting it in your lapel to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Later, this color became a sort of political uniform to show solidarity to Irish Catholic Nationalism.
The Leprechaun comes to us from Celtic folklore, as spirits who guarded sacred grounds and watched over your every move. The Irish-American version of a Leprechaun though, differs greatly, showing him as a silly sort of character, wearing a battered hat and coat with fists in the air. This depiction was actually taken from 19th century cartoons that mocked the second-hand clothing many Irish wore when they came to American during the Potato Famine; similar to clothes worn in Napoleonic England. But wait, with every Leprechaun there’s a pot of gold, right? The famous tale of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow was unfortunately a misinterpretation of an old Irish saying that “one was as likely to find a pot of gold, as to find the end of a rainbow”. As disheartening, and true, as that may be, the overall tone and spirit of the holiday is still one of unity, friendship, hospitality and of course, celebratory drinks!
Here are a few Irish phrases to help you toast over your Guinness!
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! – Happy St. Patrick’s Day to You!
pronounced: lah leh PAH-drig SUN-uh gwitch
Sláinte! – Cheers!
Ceilidh – Party
Sláinte is táinte! – To Health and Wealth!
pronounced: slawn-cheh iss toin-cheh
Éire go Brách! – Ireland Forever!
pronounced: Ay-reh guh brawkh
Tabhair póg dom, táim Éireannach! – Kiss Me I’m Irish!
pronounced: Tower pogue dum, toim Aye-ron-okh
Ádh na nÉireannach! – The Luck of the Irish!
pronounced: Awe nah Nay-ron-okh
Píonta Guinness, le do thoil! – A pint of Guinness please!
pronounced: Pyun-tah Guinness, leh duh huh-il
Uisce beatha, le do thoil – A Whiskey please.
pronounced: ish-keh byah-ha leh duh huh-il
Beorir, le do thoil – A Beer please.
pronounced: byoh-ir leh duh huh-il