Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Had it not been for a band of Irish marauders in the fifth century, March 17 might've been plain old Maewyn's Day — because Maewyn wouldn't have changed his name to Patrick, and he likely wouldn't have become a saint. In fact, it wouldn't have been a Day at all.
But as it happened, a certain 16-year-old Welsh lad was kidnapped by those Irish marauders, and during the six years young Maewyn spent in servitude as a shepherd in Irelandhe experienced a religious awakening, then spent years studying in a monastery. He took on a new name, Patrick, and a new calling — converting his countrymen to Christianity.
Patrick certainly had the luck of the Irish — as a young man he escaped the captors who enslaved him, and several times later in life he escaped arrest by the druids who didn't appreciate his missionary activities in their midst.
He was successful at his chosen mission, too, founding schools and churches and performing baptisms; within 200 years Ireland was a Christian country. The shamrock, a trifoliate clover, became his cleverest teaching tool, which he used to explain the Trinity — three elements forming one entity.
In his Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, he writes:
So, how is it that in Ireland, where they never had any knowledge of God but, always, until now, cherished idols and unclean things, they are lately become a people of the Lord, and are called children of God.
There is some blarney in the stories about Patrick, too, most notably the one which has him delivering a sermon on a hilltop and thereby banishing the country's snakes. Unless one understands this symbolically to refer to pagan practices, it can't be true, for Ireland had no native snakes.
Saint Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461, and this date was declared a religious feast day. TraditionalLenten prohibitions were waived; dancing, drinking, and eating meat were allowed. In Ireland, most businesses, excluding restaurants and pubs, close on March 17. Nowadays, in an effort to present the best face of Ireland to visitors, a St. Patrick's Day festival is celebrated in Dublin from March 13th to the 19th. It features music, theater, dance, comedy, a treasure hunt, performance art, fireworks and more; it draws over a million revelers.
The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, however, but in New York, in 1872; the parade became an occasion for downtrodden Irish immigrants to declare their pride in their nationality. Parades now take place across Europe, the Americas and Asia.
How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day:
- Wear green
- Pin a shamrock to your hat
- Speak with a brogue
- Wear brogues
- Wish your friends and family "Top o' the morning to ye" and every so often cry out "Erin go bragh!" (Ireland forever)
- If you're a mayor, dye your town's rivers green and paint your lane markers green.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Ragnar was a 9th century Norse King. He was a pirate, a raider, a conqueror, an explorer, and a wild man. The tough, fearless, rugged attributes of this Norse King are shared by all who participate in a Ragnar Relay. In much the same way, a Ragnar Relay provides runners the freedom to roam, to explore - a free-spirited curiosity to get out there and experience outdoor adventure. And maybe even to conquer. And though tough or rugged may not perfectly describe you, these attributes become a goal - something to strive for.
In a Ragnar Relay the wild nature of this Norse King is embraced by many participants. Participants who aren't afraid to paint their van plaid, to bring along their own hair band, to join together in yelling as they cross the finish line. You may think that you are not one of them, but you are. Everyone has a wild side and nothing brings it out of you like a Ragnar Relay.
Long live the Ragnar in us all
This is what I'm doing this weekend. Just me and 12 of my friends/sisters/cousins divided into 2 vans to relay 202 miles. Does that sound like fun or what?