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St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

Linda Hiller

Even if we aren’t living in the heart of Irish country here in Douglas County, faithful Paddys can still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the Internet.

If you type in “St. Patrick’s Day,” depending on your Worldwide Web server, you can get as much as 59,709 matches for sites to investigate and get your fill o’ the green.

For starters, you can find out about St. Patrick’s Day parades across the country. In New Orleans, for example, parade-goers catch beads, heads of cabbage, potatoes, carrots and Moon Pies from float riders as they pass by.

After the parade, only a quick trip to the grocery store for some corned beef completes the traditional holiday meal. On this website, you’ll see pictures of celebrants dressed in green with arms full of cabbages. This site is http://www.neosoft.com/~bigeasy/stpatpic.html.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago is also a big event on the web. You can even find out what the weather forecast is for the parade there on Monday (high of 52, low of 36 – rain, sorry).

Pictures of the Chicago River dyed green take a long time to load, though.

It’s true, they actually dump 40 pounds of green food coloring into the river on March 17. It all started in 1962 when city workers would use the (theoretically harmless) dye to help detect pollution violators up and down the waterway. Now, it’s a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition that makes the river stay green for only a few hours.

Want to volunteer for the New York City parade? You can do it on the web.

Or, load up a St Patrick’s Day screensaver for your computer at http://www.cts.com/~jgraves/stpatrick.htm for $2.

If you’d like to make a greeting card for your favorite spud, access Awesome Cyber Cards at http://www.marlo.com/card.htm. There are several different cards (fill the green ink on your color printer) to choose from, all displayed on your screen as you visit this site.

Need a St. Patrick’s Day Cheesecake recipe? Try http://www.op.dlr.de/FF-D…cookbook/node59.html. You can also get other festive holiday recipes (stock up on the green food coloring) by typing in St. Patrick’s Day.

If you want to know more about the origin of the holiday or St. Patrick himself, you can find that out in a lucky flash. Did you know that St Patrick was not actually Irish? Historical sources report that he was born around 373 (although one site said 461), in either Scotland or in Roman Britain. His real name was Maewyn Succat, but he took on Patricus, or Patrick after becoming a priest.

According to this same source, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland at the age of 16, and it was there that Succat began having religious visions and found strength in his faith.

One of his visions showed him where to go to find a getaway ship, so he escaped to France and became a priest and later a bishop.

It wasn’t until he was around 60 that he returned to Ireland to spread the Christian word. He was apparently quite the charmer, and he used the three-leafed shamrock to represent the Trinity in his missionary work.

Legend has it St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, but most modern historians believe that was a figurative tale, alluding to the fact that he drove paganism – represented by the snakes – out of Ireland.

For more information, try http://www.nando.net/toys/stpaddy/stpaddy.html

If you speak Gaelic, try the St. Patrick’s Day greetings from the Fianna Fail Party. There, you can get “a wee bit” of political background regarding Ireland today.

There is truly no end to the amount of information available to those lonely for the wearin’ o’ the green on the Internet, even here in the West.

Still, for a country that is less than one-third the size of Nevada, it’s interesting how much information there is on the Worldwide Web regarding one little holiday. St. Patrick himself would be amazed.