One certainly does not have to be Irish to take part in the frivolity and fun that is St. Patrick’s Day in the United States.
Celebrating the Irish people and the country’s traditions is enjoyable for everyone.
It seems the same with Celtic music.
While it may be hard to pick a favorite music genre at the American Folk Festival, the Celtic groups the perform each year are clearly among the most popular – drawing big crowds for every show.
The fiddles and flutes, an occasional banjo or accordion – played with great expertise and joy – often by generations of family members.
Celtic music is the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland, but it also is deeply-rooted in Wales, Portugal and the Atlantic Canada Provinces.
We’ve got a few more months before we’ll be tapping our toes on the Bangor waterfront, but there certainly will be some celtic music belting from bars and restaurants throughout the area as well all gather to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday.
Here are a few things to ponder while you nurse a Guinness or a green draft beer (your preference of course) on Tuesday.
Saint Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish. He actually was born in Britain. He was kidnapped as a teenager and forced into slavery in Ireland. He eventually escaped and spent the rest of his life trying to convert the Irish to christianity.
It is believed that Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity – The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost.
There actually is nothing uniquely Irish about the shamrock, which grows wild all over Europe.
It also is believed that Saint Patrick banished snakes from Ireland, though experts say snakes never inhabited the country, which is surrounded by icy waters.
In Ireland Saint Patrick’s day is a quiet religious holiday.
It started out the same way in the United States back in 1737, but over the centuries it grew into the more raucous celebration of the Irish culture it is today.
All of us here at the American Folk Festival hope you all have a safe and fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating any way you see fit.
We also hope that whether you join in an old Irish song or just listen to some lively Celtic music, that you will be remember that in only a few short months, the Bangor waterfront will be alive with those same traditional and beloved tunes.