The Norman Transcript


March 16, 2014

Facts about Saint Patrick’s Day

NORMAN — The most kids know of St. Patrick’s Day is that you must wear green or you’ll get pinched, and adults associate the day with green beer or other alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are celebrating or why the holiday is important.

· Why do we celebrate March 17? In some accounts, this day was the day St. Patrick went to his reward in Glory. Since records of births and deaths weren’t very accurate in the late 4th, early 5th century, it was more likely the date was chosen because it coincided with lent. Sort of like Christmas and December 25.

· Where is the birthplace of St. Patrick? Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick was not Irish. His ancestry was Roman, but he was born in Scotland or Whales. (Scholars can’t agree on which.) The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Depending on who was in rule and how much land was taken during that rule, land boundaries were often blurred. They would change with the next ruler. Scholars do agree he was shanghaied by Irish pirates while he and some friends played on the beach. At age 16, he was taken to Ireland and sold into slavery. After six years, he escaped and made his way back home. He became a Christian and studied in a monastery. He went back to Ireland as a missionary — Information from Catholic Online, March 2013, bio: true story.

· Myth or fact: St. Patrick was accredited with driving all the snakes from Ireland? According to National Geographic, there were no reptiles at all in Northern Europe until 1000 A.D. simply because it was too cold. Northern Europe today lays claim to only three snakes: the grass snake, the smooth snake and the only venomous snake, the adder. None of these are native to Ireland. The only reptile native to Ireland didn’t arrive until the last 1,000 years. It is a legless lizard. (So much for global warming being a 20th century problem.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014