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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I’ve mentioned before that I am not Irish. I am a whole lotta Italian, with a little German sprinkled in for funsies. But alas wee lads and lassies, I don’t see any harm in finding the Irish spirit and having some St. Patrick’s Day fun! But before you don your green clothes and wish on shamrocks, let’s review our history of St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.

In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well-known legend of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.

According to, legend has it that Patrick stood on an Irish hillside and delivered a sermon that drove the island’s serpents into the sea. While it’s true that the Emerald Isle is mercifully snake-free, chances are that’s been the case throughout human history. Water has surrounded Ireland since the end of the last glacial period, preventing snakes from slithering over; before that, it was blanketed in ice and too chilly for the cold-blooded creatures. Scholars believe the snake story is an allegory for St. Patrick’s eradication of pagan ideology.

Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in America. A St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier were organized by the Spanish Colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur.

More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17, 1772, to honor the Irish patron saint. Enthusiasm for the St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City, Boston and other early American cities only grew from there.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally been a spiritual and religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide. However, those of us in North America seem to make our celebrations more extra than the rest of the world.

And if you are looking to get out and celebrate, here are some St. Paddy’s weekend events to help keep you busy.

One80 kicks off the weekend at Hull’s Landing at 9:30 p.m.

You can head over to New Trail Brewing on Sunday for a pint and some Irish music! Celtic Wood and Wires will be playing from 3-5 p.m. They are a four-member acoustic band playing songs and tunes from Ireland, Scotland & a bit of Appalachian.

The Valley Inn is hosting a St. Paddy’s Day tribute on Saturday, featuring the music of Nirvana by Aberdeen, Alice in Chains by Social Parasite, and the Ramones by the Cretins. Music kicks off at 8 p.m., and there is a $5 cover.

The Bar on Market will be hosting Lycoming County Bagpiper – Stacie Houser on St. Patrick’s Day from 2-4 p.m. The band ‘As If’ will also be playing from 7-10 p.m.

Trifecta Bar and Grille will be hosting a St. Paddy’s Day brunch. They will be open Sunday March 17th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a special brunch menu, feature drinks and live music!

If you want to go against the grain for some not-so-Irish, family-friendly fun this weekend, please be sure to head to Williamsport High School for their production of “Pippin.” The show is set to hit the stage beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, March 15th, with a matinee performance scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, March 16th.

The Watson Inn says everyone’s a wee bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! “That’s why we’ll be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.!” Come in and grab some of your favorite Irish dishes like corned beef hash, beef stew, beer cheese, blarney fries, shepherd’s pie and more! They will have two rounds of live music with Ricky Koons from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and then Coast Two Coast Electric Trio from 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

And of course, in true St. Paddy’s Day tradition, the Shamrock will be serving their famous corned beef on rye on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.

So get your green on, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — but remember. Celebrate safely. No green beer and driving. And much like I reminded you with the Super Bowl, St. Paddy’s Day is on Sunday. You are not as young as your used to be. You have to go to work on Monday. No, your boss isn’t going to believe that you suddenly came down with the ‘flu.’