Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saturday is also Saint Patrick's Day, a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.


A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.
In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth. (2Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 3:14-19; 2Corinthians 13:5) In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration.

Saint Patrick
Little is known of Patrick's early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Christian church in Ireland. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.

In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

Wearing of the green
Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

St. Patrick banishes all snakes from Ireland
Pious legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, chasing them into the sea after they assailed him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill. This hagiographic theme draws on the mythography of the staff of Moses, messenger of Yahweh to gentile Egyptians. In Exodus 7:8–7:13 , Moses and Aaron use their staffs in their struggle with Pharaoh's sorcerers, the staffs of each side morphing into snakes. Aaron's snake-staff prevails.

However, all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes, as on insular "Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica...So far, no serpent has successfully migrated across the open ocean to a new terrestrial home" such as from Scotland on the neighboring island of Britain, where a few native species have lived, "the venomous adder, the grass snake, and the smooth snake," as National Geographic notes, and although sea snake species separately exist.

Saint Peter 
The fiery and impulsive Leader of the Twelve apostles, Peter is easily recognizable by his white, short, curly hair and beard. He is often shown holding a scroll, which may have words taken from one of his Epistles written upon it. In some icons he may also be shown with keys hanging from his belt, a reference to the words Jesus said to him: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” He is often found in Icons with St. Paul, who were both martyred in Rome, holding together the Church, and showing their shared pre-eminence among the Apostles.

Flash and the Pan
Flash and the Pan was an Australian New Wave musical group (essentially an ongoing studio project) initiated during the late 1970s by Harry Vanda and George Young, both former members of The Easybeats.

Harry Vanda (born Johannes Hendricus Jacob Vandenberg, 22 March 1946, in The Hague, The Netherlands), and George Young (born George Redburn Young, 6 November 1946 in Cranhill, Glasgow, Scotland). They performed as members of 1960s Australian rock group The Easybeats where Vanda was their lead guitarist and backing singer and Young was their rhythm guitarist and backing singer. Vanda & Young co-wrote most of The Easybeats later hits including their international hit "Friday On My Mind" and they were the record producers for the group from 1967. Young is an older brother of Malcolm and Angus Young of the hard rock band AC/DC.

“Hey St. Peter” was the duo’s first hit in 1979. They made a strong sophomore effort in Australia and Europe with “Down Among The Dead,”just prior to releasing their first album, Flash in the Pan. They essentially remained unknown in the US, despite airplay resulting from a deal with Epic Records. Our loss, to be sure.
Quirky, half-spoken, half-sung lyrics, some of which sound like they are processed through a megaphone, and well-orchestrated music form the signature sound of this band. Check them out, then add them to your 80′s music collection.

Hey St. Peter

The morning was cold and lonely
City lights old and grey
The sun arose trying to smile
Gave it all away
The honky-tonk called a stranger
The stranger couldn't pay the bill
Made a stand, raised his hand
Sang a song, no time to kill

I said, Hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
I've got a tale to tell
I've just been down in New York town
It really feels like hell It really feels like hell

Billy was out of fashion
Manhattan was years ago
Yesterday he wasted time
Money was kind of slow
Billy had friends of glory
Billy was a friend of fame
Took a chance, raised his hand
Sang a song, now he's back in the game

Hey, St. Peter
Before you ring your bell
Just been down in New York town
Done my time in hell Done my time in hell

I said, Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, St. Peter Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
It really feels like hell


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