St. Patrick's Day 2017: Irish blessings, quotes, inspirations for a lucky March 17 holiday

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today - March 17 - is a day when everyone is a little bit Irish, donning green and proclaiming "Erin go Bragh." (Ever wonder what that means? You can read more about that here.)

In honor of this luckiest of holidays, here are some St. Patrick's Day 2017 Irish blessings, quotes and inspiration:

Irish prayer

"May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer."

Irish blessings

"For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day."

"May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go."

"May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring you bright, happy hours.

That stay with you all the year long."

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

Irish toasts

"Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here's a drink to his health!
But not too many drinks, lest we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see them snakes again!"

"May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind us all
Of Ireland's faith and pride.
May God bless us with happiness
May love and faith abide."

Irish proverbs

"A handful of skill is better than a bagful of gold."

"If you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough."

"Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege."

"Your feet will bring you where your heart is."

St. Patrick's Day quotes

"For the whole world is Irish on the seventeenth o' March!" - - Thomas Augustine Daly

"There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were." - - Anon.

"Never iron a four-leaf clover. You don't want to press your luck." - - Anon.

Quotes on luck

"To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone." - - Reba McEntire

"I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it." - - Denzel Washington

"If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?" - - Stanislaw J. Lec

What does St. Patrick's Day mean to you? Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Updated, 11:52 a.m.

Top o’ the morning on this fortuitous Friday.

As you head out into a sea of green, here’s something to consider:

What are we celebrating when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

The day honors Irish heritage and St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But there’s more, too.

“Are we celebrating the Irish culture?” asked Brendan Murphy, a senior education associate at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. “Are we celebrating shamrocks? Or are we celebrating determination? Are we celebrating resilience? Are we celebrating acculturation and Americanization?”

As you reflect, a quick history lesson:

Many Irish immigrants began arriving in New York around 1845, fleeing the potato famine.

“The Irish were coming, with all due respect, as the lowest of the low,” Mr. Murphy said. Many settled in what New York once knew as Five Points — a notorious slum district — and blocks away from what is now Chinatown and Little Italy.

To better understand their lives, we visited 97 Orchard Street, where the Irish immigrants Joseph and Bridget Moore lived in the 1860s. He was a bartender or waiter and she stayed at home to care for their three children in a space no larger than 345 square feet.

The roughly 30 layers of paint and 20 layers of wallpaper in the old apartment building, now the Tenement Museum, are “the very evidence of people coming to these tenements — which are so often associated with cramped, crowded, dirty conditions — and looking for some kind of beauty for their space,” Mr. Murphy said. “That’s powerful.”

One event these early Irish immigrants passed along was the tradition of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which first marched into New York in 1762.

So back to the question: What do we celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day?

“I don’t necessarily know if we know,” Mr. Murphy said. “I think we’re celebrating more than one thing. If you ask an Irish-American what St. Patrick’s Day means to them, you’re going to find a very different thing than what someone who is 22 and goes to N.Y.U. sees. And maybe that’s the power of the Irish immigrant story.”

Call it the luck o’ the Irish.

After a week of slush and gusts, we’re getting a break, but it won’t last.

Temperatures should warm up to the low 40s, comfortable enough to get outdoors and hunt for leprechaun gold at the end of a rainbow.

Enjoy the sunshine: Snow and rain are likely tomorrow.

Happy St Patrick's Day 2017! What is it, who is Saint Patrick and how to celebrate the Irish event

Every year, millions of people don ginger wigs, green jackets and shamrock-adorned top hats.

They then crowd into bars across the world, where they down pints of Guinness from as early as 9 or 10am.

They do so to mark St Patrick’s Day , an annual event that celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish.

On the day, many will conveniently remember that their great-great-great-great-grandparents moved over from Ireland centuries ago.

Others, meanwhile, will try to impress fellow revellers by putting on a fake Irish accent and drunkenly wishing them: “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya.”

But why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day? And how is it observed by people across the globe?

Here, we provide a guide to the event, which takes place on March 17 each year.

What is St Patrick’s Day?

St Patrick’s Day was originally a religious feast day for St Patrick – the patron saint of Ireland and a Christian missionary.

St Patrick, the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest, was actually not born Irish but Scottish.Many wear shamrocks – three-leaved plants which St Patrick himself is said to have used to explain the Holy Trinity of God to the pagan Irish.

The day is celebrated as a national holiday in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

However, it is also widely observed across the globe, especially in the UK, America, Canada and Australia.

On March 17, the Lenten restrictions on eating meat and drinking alcohol are relaxed.

Who is St Patrick?

The first thing about St Patrick is he isn't technically a Saint. Shock horror. He's called Saint Patrick although he was never canonised by the Church.

He was born into a wealthy family in AD387 in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat.

Records show at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Gaelic Ireland as a slave to tend and herd sheep.

During his captivity, he learned the rituals and customs of the druids - the people he eventually converted.

Patrick is said to have prayed to God more than 100 times a day. He also had a dream about God, in which he later said he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. "You're ship is ready," he was told.

The dream led to St Patrick escaping from his captors and making his way back home, where he became a priest, like his grandfather.

The young man is then believed to have returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary after experiencing another vision where he was given a letter labelled "voice of the Irish". When he opened it he apparently heard the voices begging him to return.

He did so, and converted thousands of the pagan Irish to Christianity in the northern half of the country. He used their symbols and Christianised them.

He would use shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to those he preached to, resulting in the widespread focus on the plants on St Patrick’s Day.

He is also said to have performed miracles and built churches across Ireland.

St Patrick died at Saul – where he is believed to have begun his missionary work - and was later buried at Downpatrick, County Down.

After his death on March 17, 461, he was the subject of many legends and became the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

PS... It’s St Paddy, NOT Patty

Believe it or not, some people incorrectly refer to St Patrick’s Day as ‘St Patty’s Day’, instead of ‘St Paddy’s Day’.

As many angry Irishmen have previously pointed out, the term ‘Paddy’ is derived from the Irish name, Pádraig.

In contrast, ‘Patty’ is typically used to refer to a burger – or a similar flattened cake of food.

So if you’re trying to refer to the Irish celebration and not burgers or Patty from The Simpsons, we’d suggest steering clear of ‘St Patty’s Day’.

Why Leprechauns?

However, he is said to have spent many years in Ireland converting the pagans to Christianity before his death on March 17 in the fifth century.

Despite its origins, St Patrick’s Day has since grown into a global celebration of Irish culture, with festivities (usually, involving a fair bit of drinking) held throughout the world.

If you catch one of the wrinkled fairies, it is said that they must lead you to their treasure and may also grant you three wishes (sort of like a genie).

Revellers tend to dress up as leprechauns on St Patrick’s Day because of the creatures’ iconic status and eye-catching appearance.

Others simply wear green – a colour that has been associated with Ireland and St Patrick’s Day since the mid-17th century.

Where is St Patrick’s Day celebrated?

Although it is treated as a national holiday in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, St Patrick’s Day is also celebrated across the world – and even in outer space.

In 2011, astronauts on board the International Space Station honoured the event by playing flutes and tin whistles belonging to the Irish group, The Chieftains.

And in 2013, Chris Hadfield took photos of Ireland and one of himself wearing a green bow tie while floating weightless in the space station.

In Ireland, celebrations are held across the country, with the two largest taking place in Dublin and Downpatrick, where St Patrick himself was buried.

Check out our handy guide on where to celebrate St Patrick's Day for the best parades and events in the UK.

The festivities include enormous parades and festivals, with musical performances, dancing and fireworks.

In the UK, Birmingham hosts what is described as the third biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world, which covers two miles through the city centre.

The horse racing at Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire also usually coincides with the annual celebration.

There's an event this year on the 16th - with a special race to mark the day.

In the United States, St Patrick’s Day is widely observed across many states as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture.

In Chicago, Illinois, thousands of people gather annually to see the Chicago River dyed green for the occasion.

And in New York, a parade is held on Fifth Avenue, which sees live bands, leprechauns and dancers waving U.S. and Irish flags take to the streets.

Other countries that mark St Patrick’s Day include Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.

What to wear on St Patrick's Day

If you’re planning to celebrate Patrick’s Day – whether that’s at a pub or in the comfort of your own home - you might wish to wear one or more of the following:

- A shamrock (or a horde of them… to get fully into the spirit of the Irish)

- Green clothing

- A green top hat

- Green accessories (think hair bows, hair dye, make-up and nail varnish)

- ...basically, anything green

- A ginger wig or beard

When is St Patrick’s Day?

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17.

How to say Happy St Patrick's Day in Irish Gaelic

If you're planning on impressing your friends or celebrating the special event in Ireland this year - you might want to know how to say 'Happy St Patrick's Day' in Gaelic. The Irish phrase is "La Fheile Padraig".

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