In honour of my Irish friends, I wanted to use a St. Patrick’s theme on this special weekend! Today, our community will be celebrating. Downtown streets will be packed to see the parade and have some fun.
I was curious to find out where the St. Patrick’s symbols came from. It seemed odd that a Christian story would be linked to a pot of gold and everything green. So I did some digging in.
The Irish legend of the Pot of Gold tells the story of fairies putting gold in the pot and leprechauns guarding it. Rainbows, with their lovely and magical appearance, lead to the treasure. It takes hope and luck to find this pot of gold, a symbolism adopted by the Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and everything Irish.
Rainbows and the pot of gold aren’t part of St. Patrick’s story, but the Shamrock is. Here is a story of faith and courage. It is quite interesting…
Born to a Roman family in the end of the 4th century, St. Patrick lived in Britain when, at fourteen, he was captured and taken to Ireland to work as a slave among Druids and pagans. During the six years he spent in cruel conditions working as a herder, he started praying and built his faith in God. He dreamt a divine message to return home; a ship would be waiting to take him. He fled, now in his early twenties, overcoming many hurdles during his journey to Britain. A dream where he is asked to go back to Ireland later sends him into priesthood. His faith is strong. He becomes bishop and makes it his mission to return to Ireland, this time taking the Gospel. Saint Patrick is known for his miracles, for using the Shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity and for converting Ireland to Christianity in 40 years.
St. Patrick was a man of virtue. He lived in poverty. The pot of gold was of no importance to him. He had incredible faith and a mission dedicated to God. At the end of his rainbow was the fulfilment of his belief. St. Patrick is an important figure in the history of Ireland. The Holiday dedicated to him holds the symbols of everything green including the Shamrock of course, representing the Holy Trinity, hope, faith and love, values preached by the Saint himself.
Thinking of the life and story of this humble man of incredible faith, I tried to see how it fits together with the Irish spirit of today and what I can learn from it. The concepts of faith on one side and luck on the other didn’t seem to link well… until I looked at the rainbow.
Rainbows are inspiring. Whether the end of the rainbow holds the elusive pot of gold or not, it offers a mystical experience to those who take a moment to marvel at its beauty. The treasure at the end of the rainbow may not be an actual pot of gold, but following the rainbow from the top down to where it touches the horizon, wondering about its shimmering and mysterious colours and trying to capture every moment of its existence, is beyond precious in itself.
The Irish celebrate life and love. They honour friendships and enjoy the present moment. Luck may bring them a pot of gold but their treasure lies in the laughter and songs among friends. They have found their rainbow and celebrate it their own Irish way, in wonderful shades of green, honouring the life of a man who changed their country centuries ago.