Author Archives: Michelle Del Rey

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

st-patricks-day-1255623_960_720

Background- Who was Patrick? 

Maewyn Succat, also known as St. Patrick, was born in Britain around 385 AD.

Until he was sixteen-years-old, he considered himself to be an atheist, or in those days, the proper term would’ve been pagan.

It wasn’t until when a group of Irish raiders took hold of his village and kidnapped Maewyn to Ireland that he was exposed to Christianity. 

According to legend, Patrick had an epiphany in the middle of the night that told him to board a ship that then took him back to Britain where he joined a monastery.

He ended up staying there for twelve years after realising his calling was to convert pagans to Christianity. 

After he was appointed as bishop, Patrick returned to Ireland. While he was in Ireland, Patrick established monasteries, churches and schools. Utilising the shamrock to teach people about the holy trinity, hence the three leaf clover.

He even returned to buy his freedom from his former master but the man decided to burn himself in his house with all his possessions instead of coming face-to-face with his former slave. 

Patrick stayed in Ireland for thirty years until he retired. He then remained in Ireland and died on March 17th AD 461, the date we now celebrate as St. Patricks Day. 

Patrick was never canonised by a Pope but his name appears on the list of Saints. 

st paddys

St. Patricks Day

The day of feast was originally included on the Catholic church’s liturgical calendar in the early 1600s.

From then on it has been considered a holy day for Catholics who are required to attend mass on the 17th of March.

St. Patrick’s Day didn’t become an official holiday until 1903 when the Bank Holiday Act of 1903 was introduced in Ireland, which initially, required all pubs to be closed.

Since the day is during the lenten prohibition, the ban from eating meat was lifted. Mass was attended in the morning and feasts carried on into the afternoon that included singing and dancing. 

The St. Patrick’s Day that we know of today is an Irish-American construct with the first St. Patrick’s Day parade taking place in 1762.

Irish soldiers serving with the English military marched through Manhattan to a local tavern.

The first official parade took place in 1848 and became the largest in the United States. 

green

Why do we wear green? 

The tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day began in the 7th century.

The original colour associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue but green effectively replaced it.

This is most likely because of Ireland’s nickname, the Emerald Isle. The green stripe in the Irish glad also played a role, as well as the fact that most people associate Ireland with the colour green.

photo-1519009620163-043a4492d8b8 

Where did green beer come from?

In 1914 an Irish-American Doctor called Thomas Hayes Curtin revealed his one-of-a-kind invention of ‘green beer’.

Similar inventions had been linked to green beer before but this is the inventor that most historians site.

However, his green beer wasn’t very safe to drink as it allegedly contained an iron powder solution that was used to whiten clothes. This was used to turn the beer into the iconic green colour.

Nowadays, bar keeps have taken to changing the colour of beer with a little help from food dye. 

Green beer is still a term used today to describe beer that’s too young.

Green beer still contains acetaldehyde, which can make the beer taste bad because it’s not yet fully fermented.

However, what you’ll be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day will most likely be normal beer with food colouring- but at your own risk. 

st partricks infographic

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

st-patricks-day-1255623_960_720

Background- Who was Patrick? 

Maewyn Succat, also known as St. Patrick, was born in Britain around 385 AD.

Until he was sixteen-years-old he considered himself to be an atheist, or in those days, the proper term would’ve been pagan.

It wasn’t until when a group of Irish raiders took hold of his village and kidnapped Patrick to Ireland that he was exposed to Christianity. 

According to legend, Patrick had an epiphany in the middle of the night that told him to board a ship that then took him back to Britain where he joined a monastery.

He ended up staying there for twelve years after realising his calling was to convert pagans to Christianity. 

After he was appointed as bishop, Patrick returned to Ireland.

While he was in Ireland, Patrick established monasteries, churches and schools. Utilising the shamrock to teach people about the holy trinity, hence the three leaf clover.

He even returned to buy his freedom from his former master but the man decided to burn himself in his house with all his possessions instead of coming face-to-face with his former slave. 

Patrick stayed in Ireland for thirty years until he retired. He remained in Ireland and died on March 17th AD 461, the date we now celebrate as St. Patricks Day. 

Patrick was never canonised by a Pope but his name appears on the list of Saints. 

st paddys

St. Patrick’s Day

The day of feast was originally included on the Catholic church’s liturgical calendar in the early 1600s. From then on it has been considered a holy day for Catholics who are required to attend mass on the 17th of March.

St. Patrick’s Day didn’t become an official holiday until 1903 when the Bank Holiday Act of 1903 was introduced in Ireland, which initially, required all pubs to be closed.

Since the day is during the lenten prohibition, the ban from eating meat was lifted. Mass was attended in the morning and feasts carried on into the afternoon that included singing and dancing. 

The St. Patrick’s Day that we know of today is an Irish-American construct. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving with the English military marched through Manhattan to a local tavern.

The first official parade took place in 1848 and became the largest in the United States. 

green

Why do we wear green?

The tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day began in the 7th century. The original colour associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue but green effectively replaced it.

Most likely because of Ireland’s nickname, the Emerald Isle. The green stripe in the Irish flag also played a role, as well as the fact that most people associate Ireland with the colour green. 

photo-1519009620163-043a4492d8b8

Where did green beer come from?

In 1914 an Irish-American Doctor called Thomas Hayes Curtin revealed his one-of-a-kind invention of ‘green beer’.

Similar inventions had been linked to green beer before but he is the inventor that most historians site.

However, his green beer wasn’t very safe to drink as it allegedly contained an iron powder solution that was used to whiten clothes.

This was used to turn the beer into the iconic green colour.

Nowadays, bar keeps have taken to changing the colour of beer with a little help from food dye. 

Green beer is still a term used today to describe beer that’s too young. ‘Green beer’ still contains acetaldehyde, which can make the beer taste bad because it’s not yet fully fermented.

However, what you’ll be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day will most likely be normal beer with food colouring- but at your own risk.

st partricks infographic

Meet Alan: the Male feminist

Alan Howell is not your average feminist.

For starters, he’s a white British man. A descendent of Sir Walter Raleigh, Alan was brought up to be a proper and chivalrous gentleman.

Taught to open doors and give up seats for women. However, it was last year at the Seven Dials music festival when Alan worked alongside the CEO of Sister London, a PR firm located in Soho, that he found himself, almost a year later, working as a promotional officer for International Woman’s Day 2019.

After the festival, he went back and told his employers how much he enjoyed working with Sister.

“I love the fact that I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he tells me as we sit on a velvet pink couch in a pop-up shop in Seven Dials.

“We’ve been educated on the subject matter but not on the content or the opinions. I wondered what I was getting into, but I wanted to be educated, and to learn as a man.”    

The theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceisBetter, which targets body positivity and the gender pay gap. As a seasoned actor, Alan had never been exposed to the plights women face in various industries.

“I’ve never had an experience when I knew a fellow colleague was earning less than I was. Obviously, if they were the lead then they would earn more but for those of us in the ensemble, we’re all on a minimum wage. It’s only when you become more important that the gap becomes bigger.”

When I asked Alan what it was that men needed to learn, he chuckled,

“Everyone needs to learn, not just men. International Women’s Day and other events highlighting difficulties women face can make a difference and both sexes can walk away from this event learning something. However, the lads who lunch definitely need waking up when it comes to business industries- especially the older generation.”

Alan has been no stranger to body positivity, even confiding in me, a complete stranger, about the struggles he’s dealt with in the entertainment industry.

“I’ve been told I need to lose weight- and I know I do.”

I stare at him cynically as he continues,“But, if you’re going to change something about your body it should be because it makes you feel good not because society is telling you it’s something you should do. You should be able to look in the mirror and embrace who you are no matter what sex, religion, social class, or whatever your background. That to me equals #BalanceisBetter.”

Influencing future generations with events like International Women’s Day is the most important thing to Alan. When promotion for the event first began, himself and another cohort passed out flyers around Seven Dials, he says with a massive smile painted across his face. 

As Alan tells me about how passionate he is about closing in on the wage-gap or promoting body positivity, I can’t help but think what the world would be like if all men and women became as proactive about fighting social issues or even opening our minds to new information in the way he has.

“Everyone needs to be open to change,” he says, “especially elected officials”.

I pondered on what Alan had shared with me so far before I imposed my last question, contemplating how a white middle-class cis-gender British male could be sat before me saying everything he had, I probed.

“Are you sure you didn’t just sign up to this to meet girls?” After letting out an uproarious laugh he insists “No, I’m madly in love with a beautiful woman who makes me strive to become better than I am because she is just so strong, driven and wonderful,”

It was exactly at that moment when women all over the world were heard sighing, “ why can’t all men be like Alan?”