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Undernet St. Patrick's Day special


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Welcome to the Undernet User Committee's Saint Patrick's Day Special. This script will mostly cover the history of Saint Patrick's Day, but will also briefly discuss some other traditions & legends such as that of the shamrock. (1)

This channel will be moderated and invite only, so take the time to jot down the name of one of the ops in case you cant get back in. At the end of the event, the channel will be unmoderated so you can hold St. Patrick's Day related discussion. Please ignore the numbers enclosed in parenthesis at the end of each section: they are for op reference. Please do not message me during the event. (2)

--The Legend of St. Patrick-- (3)

True history and legend are intertwined when it comes to St. Patrick. The person who would become St. Patrick (a man named Maewyn Succat) was born in about 385 AD. At 16 he considered himself a Pagan, and at that age he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. He became fluent in the Irish language before making his escape to the continent. (4)

He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity. (5)

His wishes were to return to Ireland, to convert the pagans that had overrun the country. But his superiors instead appointed St. Palladius. But two years later, Palladius transferred to Scotland. Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland. (6)

Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. (7)

Eventually he was ordained as a deacon, then priest and finally as a bishop. Pope Celestine then sent him back to Ireland to preach the gospel. Evidently he was a great traveller, especially in Celtic countries, as innumerable places in Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are named after him. (8)

Here it is where actual history and legend become difficult to separate. (9)

Patrick is most known the world over for having driven the snakes from Ireland. Different tales tell of his standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from the shores of Ireland. One legend says that one old serpent resisted, but the saint overcame it by cunning. He is said to have made a box and invited the reptile to enter. (10)

The snake insisted the box was too small and the discussion became very heated. Finally the snake entered the box to prove he was right, whereupon St. Patrick slammed the lid and cast the box into the sea. (11)

While it is true there are no snakes in Ireland, chances are that there never have been since the time the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the ice age. As in many old pagan religions serpent symbols were common, and possibly even worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. (12)

While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, it was Patrick who encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. He converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the Holy Wells which still bear that name. (13)

According to tradition St. Patrick died in A.D. 493 and was buried in the same grave as St. Bridget and St. Columba, at Downpatrick, County Down. The jawbone of St. Patrick was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits and as a preservative against the evil eye. (14)

Another legend says St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Galstonbury Abbey. There is evidence of an Irish pilgrimage to his tomb during the reign of the Saxon King Ine in A.D. 688, when a group of pilgrims headed by St. Indractus were murdered. (15)

The great anxiety displayed in the middle ages to possess the bodies, or at least the relics of saints, accounts for the many discrepant traditions as to the burial places of St. Patrick and others. (16)

In America, Saint Patrick's Day is a basically a time to wear green and party. The first American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. As the saying goes, on this day "everybody is Irish!" Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick's Day parades, the largest held in New York City. (17)

Green is associated with Saint Patrick's Day because it is the color of spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Leprechauns are also associated with this holiday, although I'm not sure why. Leprechauns of legend are actually mean little creatures, with the exception of the Lucky Charms guy. They were probably added later on because capitalists needed something cute to put on greeting cards. (18)

--The Story of the Shamrock-- (19)

The Shamrock, at one time called the "Seamroy" or "Seamrog", symbolizes the cross and blessed trinity. Before the Christian era it was a sacred plant of the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad. (20)

The well known legend of the Shamrock connects it definitely to St. Patrick and his teaching. Preaching in the open air on the doctrine of the trinity, he is said to have illustrated the existence of the Three in One by plucking a shamrock from the grass growing at his feet and showing it to his congregation. (21)

The legend of the shamrock is also connected with that of the banishment of the serpent tribe from Ireland by a tradition that snakes are never seen on trefoil and that it is a remedy against the stings of snakes and scorpions. (22)

The trefoil in Arabia is called shamrakh and was sacred in Iran as an emblem of the Persian triads. The trefoil, as noted above, being a sacred plant among the Druids, and three being a mystical number in the Celtic religion as well as all others, it is probable that St. Patrick must have been aware of the significance of his illustration. (23)

--So how do you get good luck on Saint Patrick's Day?-- (24)

Finding a four-leafed clover (that's double the good luck it usually is). (25)

Wearing green. (26)

School children have started a little tradition of their own -- they pinch classmates who don't wear green on this holiday. (27)

Kissing the blarney stone. (28)

A short glossary of other Saint Patrick's Day terms (29)

--Leprechaun-- (30)

A mythical Irish fairy. Looks like a small, old man (about 2 feet tall), often dressed like a shoemaker,with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone, and pass the time making shoes...they also possess a hidden pot of gold. Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. (31)

If caught, he can be forced (with the threat of bodily violence) to reveal the whereabouts of his treasure, but the captor must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun (and he often tricks them into looking away), he vanishes and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost. (32)

--Blarney stone-- (33)

The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney). The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) -- its walls are 18 feet thick (necessary to thwart attacks by Cromwellians and William III's troops). Thousands of tourists a year still visit the castle. (34)

The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly. (35)

It's tough to reach the stone -- it's between the main castle wall and the parapet. Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward (and downward), holding iron bars for support. Can you imagine kissing something that has had people's lips all over it for 500 years? Yuck! (36)

--Conclusion-- (37)

We will end this event with the following snippet, which is a section of an autobiographical confession written by Patrick himself, in Latin, around the year 450. (38)

"But I entreat those who believe in and fear God, whoever deigns to examine or receive this document composed by the obviously unlearned sinner Patrick in Ireland, that nobody shall ever ascribe to my ignorance any trivial thing that I achieved or may have expounded that was pleasing to God, but accept and truly believe that it would have been the gift of God. And this is my confession before I die." (39)

This concludes the Undernet User-Committee's script portion. If you would like to obtain a log of this event, point your browser to http://www.user-com.undernet.org/promotions/holidays/stpatday.html If you are interested in how you can help the Undernet User-Committee, go to http://www.user-com.undernet.org for further information. (40)

We will now unmoderate the channel for open discussion. Feel free to discuss your Saint Patrick's Day plans, clothing, whatever :) Thank you for attending, and keep an eye out for those leprechauns! (41)

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