St Patrick’s DaySimon Ralph
St Patrick’s Day
Wear something green, it’s St Patrick’s Day.
Funny how a colour can represent an event, a feeling, or even a day isn’t it?
This week was Ireland’s national holiday, and it’s celebrated internationally from Japan to Canada, from Russia to Malaysia, from South Korea to the International Space Station orbiting the earth, traveling at 17,000 miles an hour, that’s 5 miles per second, so they say!
The Irish are everywhere, they can be found in all corners of the planet, as well as above it. You could say, ‘They travel well’, unlike the famous dark stout, the draught beer with the creamy head, Guinness, which is said to taste best only in Ireland itself.
The celebration of the feast of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, which is a cultural and religious festival, is held on 17th March. On this day, you will find green top hats, St Patrick’s Day Cross rosettes and shamrocks being worn by Irish folk, enjoying parades in the many towns and cities they have populated across the globe. The parades that take place are always a spectacle and a good excuse for singing, dancing and generally having a good time. The Irish love a party.
I myself come from Irish linage, and have fond memories of my first visit to the Green Isle as a youth. It was the first, and indeed only holiday with my brother and sister without our parents, and as the eldest of the three, I was put in charge of my siblings and told to take care of them. The sun shone and the bicycle wheels spun around, as we enjoyed near perfect weather(unusual, as Ireland is known for its high rainfall, which of course is the ingredient making it so green), touring around the southern coastal areas of County Cork, with its’ stunning countryside, small hamlets, country pubs and warm hospitality on our hired bikes. It was a true taste of freedom.
What struck me about the Irish on that trip, apart from the fact that I seemed to be related to just about every other person that I was introduced to by my aunt Kathy (as they were either my third cousin or great uncle or something like that!), was their love for a good sing-a-long, storytelling, and a dance. These simple evening ‘get-togethers’ were the backbone of their communities, they were spontaneous and natural, it was just part of their tradition, and it’s this energy that fuels the St Patrick’s Day celebrations that take place today across the world. A chance for a good ‘Crack’, as they call it.
It’s at these times of festival that the spirit of unity becomes apparent. Wherever you may be, or who you are with, on days like St Patrick’s Day your heart and mind go back to your clan, or to the feeling of belonging to a place or people.
We are of course all connected, that is, on a spiritual level anyway, but sometimes, when we forget this, we feel separated. We may all be from different countries, continents, lands, but the reality is that on a soul level we are all brothers and sisters, and we all have the same things in common, and the same values at our core.
Yes, we may all express ourselves in a different way, through our culture and our traditions. Our cloths may look different, our skin may be different colours, our tongues may speak a whole spectrum of different languages, our traits, our habits and our mannerisms may vary vastly, but underneath all of that we are all the same. We are living, conscious energy, and we are here playing our various roles in this global stage-show we call life.
It’s only when we forget this that we can become a bit lost. Then the weight of responsibility, or the limited understanding of our true identity, that of spirit, gets forgotten. It’s when we only look at life from the perspective of being the body, that we are fooled into this division. Then we can be influenced by this misunderstanding, and our actions may bring us into negativity and struggle, making us feel alone.
Festivals such as St Patrick Day are well needed reminder that life is sweet and joyous, and beautiful, and that the negative things that we see going on around the world in these extreme times that we are living, are only momentary. They will pass by, but only if we as a global family focus on the good in ourselves, and on the things that we have in common rather than on our differences. The separation is truly an illusion, it is not real, and we are able to see through it when we are united.
I have found that meditation is the way to become free from the gross and sometimes heavy atmosphere of the world as we see it today. It is a way to let go of any tensions that I am carrying around with me and become light.
It only takes a little attention to release that tension.
When I remember the light-heartedness of the Irish that I learnt on that trip as a teenager, and how it taught me to take things slowly, remain relaxed and just stay with the natural flow of life, everything comes into perspective.
They would say, “What about a nice cup of tea”, and put the kettle on, and everything would be just fine.