I love this day, but not for the reasons most people do. Corned beef and cabbage are okay, beer and most certainly green beer is not on my menu. I like the story of Saint Patrick AND it means the beginning of garden season.
There is not much known definitively about Saint Patrick. He was active in Ireland in the fifth century. What I appreciate most about the story that is known, is that Patrick having been kidnapped from home as a teenager, forced into slavery, embraced faith. Went home, offered himself to God and ended up back among those who had abused him. There is some evidence that he disliked the Irish (and why wouldn’t he since they had kidnapped and enslaved him) and then his heart was changed and he grew to love the people he served in Ireland.
For the non-Irish, or the non-partiers, this is the day set aside to plant potatoes. Now you just can’t plant potatoes, they have to be cut at least a couple of days in advance so that the they can harden up a bit before they are put in the soil. Mine looked like this before I put them in the ground.
There are a few pink, some russet and yukon gold and they went in the ground this afternoon. Now there isn’t anything really sacred about planting potatoes on or before Saint Patrick’s Day, it is an old tradition. Sometimes, if the truth be told, my potatoes don’t get in the ground before mid April. But the weather has been lovely and garden has been calling me to dig in the dirt. So after work today, we spent a few minutes putting the potatoes in the ground.
For supper, we didn’t have corned beef and cabbage, but we did have potatoes in honor of the day. Saint Patrick had nothing to say about potatoes or gardens in his writing, but what little he did leave behind included a lovely prayer called St. Patrick’s Breastplate. It’s one of my favorite prayers. It has been put to music and I share it here.
A portion of that prayer :
The flashing of lightning,
On this night, I am grateful for the One who is on my right, my left, before me and behind. I am graced to serve.