Published on March 15th, 2018 | by Tony Mallett


Wear the green on Paddy’s Day

St Patrick’s Day (or Paddy’s Day) is looming large. So what’s it all about? Tony Mallett explains…

St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and his death is commemorated on 17 March each year.

He lived, approximately, between the years AD 385-461 and was a Romano-British Christian missionary and one-time bishop in Ireland.

As far as we know, he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family.

According to the Declaration, said to have been written by Patrick himself, at 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he spent six years working as a shepherd. It is during this time that he “found God”.

The Declaration states that God told Patrick to run to the coast, where a ship would be waiting. On returning to his homeland, Patrick became a priest.

Tradition then states that Patrick later returned to Ireland to convert the pagans to Christianity. The Declaration says that he eventually converted “thousands”.

The truth behind the story of Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland is pure allegory – it refers to his efforts against the pagan druids. There were never any real snakes in Ireland.

As mentioned, it is thought that he died on 17 March.

Since his death, more legends grew up around him and he is now the country’s foremost saint. So be sure to raise a glass in his honour. (It doesn’t HAVE to be Guinness, by the way. Maybe try a Murphy’s or even a Kilkenny, for a change.)

St Patrick’s Day Parade

To help you celebrate St Patrick’s Day, the very busy Brussels-based Irish in Europe organisation has set up its annual (since 2009) Saint Patrick’s Day Parade of the Nations & Regions, which for the first time will take place in the city centre, leaving from Les Halles St Géry at 15.00, crossing Grand’Place and finishing up at the Manneken Pis.

This year it will be led by the Brussels Caledonian Corneymusers pipe band, with the parade officially reviewed by M. Philippe Close, the Bourgmester de la Ville de Bruxelles – essentially Brussels’ mayor.

The parade takes place on Sunday 18 March.

Prior to the parade, the organisation will hold its Paddy’s Day pre-parade traditional Irish breakfast from 12-14.00 at the Midtown Grill, part of the Brussels Marriott Hotel opposite the Bourse. The Grill will act as an ‘Irish club’ for the day.

During the breakfast, Formiga & Cigale will offer up an Irish harp and violin concert with lots of craic thrown in.

Later that day at the same venue (from 17.30-22.30) the final event of the celebrations will see a traditional Irish evening with melodies and dance, plus jazz with Dénes Dosztan on piano.
Meanwhile, Grand’Place will feature a green light show, and the Manneken Pis statue will be dressed in traditional Irish dress.

Whichever event you attend, or if you just go down to your nearest Irish pub for a drink (or three), be sure to ‘wear the green’!

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