Pinch or Be Pinched!

Pinch or Be Pinched!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Wear green or be pinched! It is that time of year again. St. Patrick’s Day is coming soon. It’s a holiday that dates back about 1,500 years. Today, we tend to associate it with leprechauns, parades, beer and the color green. The early celebrations started in 11th century, honoring St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who died on March 17 in the 5thcentury.

Legend and folklore are woven into the history of St. Patrick, who is believed to have been born in Britain and kidnapped at age sixteen by Irish raiders. He was sold as a slave to a Celtic priest. After six years, he escaped back to Britain, later returning to Northern Ireland as a Christian missionary. The shamrock, the three-leaf clover, was considered a scared plant and St. Patrick used it as a vision for explaining the Holy trinity and is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people. The shamrock became a symbol of Spring and Irish nationalism.

St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in 1601 (in Florida) by the Spanish colony’s Irish vicar. One hundred-fifty year later Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17 to honor St. Patrick. Today, in New York City, three million people will crowd the sidewalks to watch the 1.5-mile St. Patrick Day’s Parade. Cities and towns all over America will immerse themselves in all things green, with parades, Pub events, Irish dancers, and plenty of green beer.

Corned beef and cabbage anyone? This is an American tradition, because in Ireland they usually serve bacon and cabbage. Chicago will famously dump about fifty pounds of a “secret formula” green dye into the river. And over 33 million partiers around the world will be celebrating March 17, when 13 million points of Guiness will be sold. Yes, that is 1.6 million gallons of the famous Irish stout being consumed. In one day.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in 19 countries and in locations far from Ireland, such as Japan, Russia and Australia. In Arizona, we have plenty of ways to enjoy a bit of the green, so plan now. Fountain Hills will make their famous fountain spew green water. There are parades in Phoenix, Sedona and Prescott, and other towns all over the state. Don’t forget Pub crawls to make sure we can sample plenty of ale. Bagpipes, Irish step dancers, floats, leprechauns, and drummers will be out in force.

The Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid-1800s that caused the deaths of one million souls, also was the reason that two million Irish immigrants came to America. They were treated poorly, disrespected and their Catholic traditions and heavy accents were met with suspicion and prejudice. It is a powerful message of Irish hope, strength and pride that brings us one of the most celebrated holidays in America. A day that is all things Irish. Americans will spend about 6.85 billion on St. Patrick Day activities and decorations this year. That is one big “pot of gold.”

Plan to wear green. Pinch. Or be pinched. Could be fun. Ireland forever. Erin go bragh.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or visit

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