Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated each year on March 17th. In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is both a holy day and a national holiday. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland as he was the one who brought Christianity to the Irish.
According to legend, Saint Patrick used a shamrock to explain about God. The shamrock, which looks like clover, has three leaves on each stem. Saint Patrick told the people that the shamrock was like the idea of the Trinity – that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Another tale about Patrick is that he drove the snakes from Ireland. Different versions of the story, tell of him standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from Ireland.
Nowadays Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated with parades with the procession of brass bands, eccentric suits, folk dancers and laughing persons by hundreds of millions of people. On this day, the whole world - from Dublin to Sidney and from New York to Moscow and Saint Petersburg - becomes Irish.
A common idiom is "to be in clover", meaning to be living a carefree life of ease, comfort, or prosperity.
The Leprechaun is an Irish fairy. He looks like small, old man (about 2 feet tall), often dressed like a shoemaker, with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone, and pass the time making shoes. They also possess a hidden pot of gold. Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. If caught, he can be forced (with the threat of bodily violence) to reveal the whereabouts of his treasure, but the captor must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun (and he often tricks them into looking away), he vanishes and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost. Near a misty stream in Ireland in the hollow of a tree Live mystical, magical leprechauns who are clever as can be With their pointed ears, and turned up toes and little coats of green The leprechauns busily make their shoes and try hard not to be seen. Only those who really believe have seen these little elves And if we are all believers We can surely see for ourselves. (Irish Blessing)
THE BLARNEY STONE The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney). The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) -- its walls are 18 feet thick (necessary to thwart attacks by Cromwellians and William III's troops). Thousands of tourists a year still visit the castle. The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly. It's tough to reach the stone -- it's between the main castle wall and the parapet. Kissers have to stretch to their back and bend backward (and downward), holding iron bars for support.
Irish dancing is an ancient tradition that managed to survive over time. When the Celts came to Ireland from central Europe 2000 years ago, they brought with them their folk dances. Irish dancing, popularised in 1994 by the world-famous show "Riverdance", is notable for its rapid leg movements, body and arms being kept largely stationary. Irish dances are accompanied by playing of bagpipes and harp. Most Irish music is made for dancing – mainly three types of tunes: reels, jigs and hornpipe. The dance for the dance groups is called Ceili or set dancing. . The dance is still the part of social culture in Ireland. Children, teenagers and adults compete in competitions for various titles and awards. The competition is solos and group dances and competitors are divided according to age.