Editor's note: The following is a submission from Wadena resident Kevin Tendall Sr. Tendall is a U.S. Army veteran, Wadena-Deer Creek School bus driver and is interested in educating readers on topics of historical importance.
Well first of all, who the heck was Saint Patrick?
According to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Saint Patrick was a patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and probably responsible in part for the Christianisation of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. He is known only from two short works, The Cofessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.
There have been many stories and legends about this Patron Saint, however two that come up most often are: Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. (there was no snake on the island, the snakes are symbolic of evil). The Shamrock (three leaf clover) was used to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity (three persons in one God).
Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated not on his birthday but on the day of his death March 17 AD 461. Both Irish and non-Irish join in on this festive celebration. It can be noted that the best and largest parades are in Dublin, Ireland, New York, Boston, and Chicago, where the people gather to see the Chicago River transform from its murky green into a bright green color (there's about 40 gallons of dye poured in to make this happen).
St. Patrick’s Day was proclaimed a Christian holiday in the 18th century. It is celebrated by Catholics, the Russian Orthodox Church, and some Protestants. St. Patrick’s Day symbolizes the adoption of Christianity in Ireland. It is also the cultural heritage of Ireland itself. St. Patrick’s Day brings out parades, festivals and dances. It is customary to wear green clothes. The official symbol of the feast is a shamrock.
St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated since 1762 in New York, and since 1737 in Boston. On this day, the Irish soldiers do not wear green uniforms in order to not attract attention. Music and alcohol are common additions.
The author (Kevin L. Tendall SR) is 78% West Coast African, 21% Irish and 1% Chinese. What a mix.
He remembers seeing his Great-great grandmother Maggie Winn, (who was 95 years old at the time in 1955) whom lived on Long Island in New York near the Hampton's. She would tell him stories of living in Ireland and how she migrated to this country. She told him about his heritage of black and Irish blood lines (he has no idea where the Chinese DNA came from). Grandma Maggie would celebrate St Patrick day by going to the festivals in New York City during the early 1950s and she drank Irish Whisky (oh yea).