Saturday, March 30, 2013

The meaning of the spring season Looking at the transformations in nature and ourselves during spring. NEW BEGINNINGS: With the changes the spring season brings, we learn to adapt positively to the changes in our environment and our health. (Photo: Leans/Flickr) The spring season is full of transformations. The temperature rises to a more bearable degree, opposing Mother Nature's last few months of freezing surroundings. The leaves we saw fall and flowers we saw wilt are now budding into lush, green, picture-perfect plants. Aside from the weather's transformations that occur in the spring season, we are transforming our lives, too. The holidays are over now ... no more high-calorie foods loaded with carbohydrates and saturated fats that Grandma made for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. No more putting off that morning jog because the roads are covered in ice or snow. When spring rolls into our lives, we start to pick up the slack that winter instilled inside us of becoming sloths. That new year's resolution to join the gym starts being enforced, so you're sure to have your bikini bod back in time for your beach vacation. No more lounging on the couch all day watching football — in the spring you can gather friends together at the park for your own game. For those of us with allergies, spring is also a wake up call for our immune systems. The ever-changing weather and excess pollen leaves the allergy-ridden population with running noses and sore throats when not prepared. To fight these transformations affecting our bodies negatively, loading up on vitamins like Vitamin C or bee pollen, and allergy medicines like Sudafed or Tylenol Cold is essential. Those who know their immune systems to be out of whack during the spring season are more inclined to protect themselves from all threatening situations. Spring is a season in limbo between the winter and summer months, so nothing is absolute about the weather. You should keep an umbrella, rain jacket and coat with you in your car at all times, ready for whatever weather situations spring may throw your way. While these changes can be frustrating and tiring for your health and yourself, they are good for the economy. In order to have all your allergy remedies ready for spring, you have to purchase them. I find myself going to the local CVS pharmacy at least once a week in the spring for some more cough medicine or decongestant when feeling under the weather. I'm also inclined to take a lot more trips to the car wash to get all the pollen off my windshield or to polish off the rain spots from my windows. Spring may have its drawbacks to our health with fluctuating allergies in the changing of seasons, but overall it is a positive season of new beginnings in weather, agriculture and self-awareness to take care of ourselves, and our surroundings. For the same reason that our bodies are temples we must preserve, our earth and environment need constant surveillance and the utmost care, too. Spring helps us to realize lessons as precious as this, where we learn the importance of embracing and adapting to change over time. Take this spring season as a chance to participate in some community service, tending simultaneously to your environment as well as yourself. Help write the chapter of new beginnings this spring in creating positive outcomes for all areas of nature, and our health. Posted by Multi Services Residential & Commercial Cleaning Free Estimates 416-782-3417

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

History of Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland),[3] the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. For Christians, the day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.[2] However, it has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Irishness and Irish culture.[4] The day generally involves public parades and festivals, céilithe, and wearing of green attire or shamrocks.[5] Christians also attend church services[4][6] and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.[4][5][7][8] Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland,[9] Northern Ireland,[10] Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world; especially in Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Saint Patrick According to legend, St. Patrick used the 3-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people. Main article: Saint Patrick Little is known of Patrick's early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave.[11] It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.[citation needed] In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church. Wearing of the green Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew.[12] Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century.[13] Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day.[14][15] In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention.[12] The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name. Ireland A St Patrick's Day religious procession in Downpatrick, 2010 Saint Patrick's feast day, as a kind of national day, was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In later times he became more and more widely known as the patron of Ireland.[16] Saint Patrick's feast day was finally placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding[17] in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick's Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. It is also a feast day in the Church of Ireland. The church calendar avoids the observance of saints' feasts during certain solemnities, moving the saint's day to a time outside those periods. Saint Patrick's Day is occasionally affected by this requirement, when 17 March falls during Holy Week. This happened in 1940, when Saint Patrick's Day was observed on 3 April in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday, and again in 2008, where it was officially observed on 14 March. Saint Patrick's Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160.[18][19] However, the secular celebration is always held on 17 March. In 1903, Saint Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. This was thanks to the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by Irish Member of Parliament James O'Mara.[20] O'Mara later introduced the law that required that pubs and bars be closed on 17 March after drinking got out of hand, a provision that was repealed in the 1970s. The first Saint Patrick's Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931 and was reviewed by the then Minister of Defence Desmond Fitzgerald. In the mid-1990s the government of the Republic of Ireland began a campaign to use Saint Patrick's Day to showcase Ireland and its culture.[21] The government set up a group called St Patrick's Festival, with the aims: Traditional St Patrick's Day badges from the early 20th century, photographed at the Museum of Country Life in County Mayo • To offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world • To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity • To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations • To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal.[22] Girls playing Irish folk music during a St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, 2010 The first Saint Patrick's Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009's five-day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.[23] Skyfest forms the centrepiece of the festival. The topic of the 2004 St. Patrick's Symposium was "Talking Irish", during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success, and the future were discussed. Since 1996, there has been a greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of "Irishness" rather than an identity based around traditional religious or ethnic allegiance. The week around Saint Patrick's Day usually involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge ("Irish Language Week").[citation needed] As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford. The biggest celebrations outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick's Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.[citation needed] Sign on a beam in Dublin's Guinness Storehouse, a commercial museum promoting the drinking of Guinness stout on St Patrick's Day The shortest St Patrick's Day parade in the world takes place in Dripsey, Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village's two pubs.[24] Christian leaders in Ireland have expressed concern about the secularisation of St Patrick's Day. In The Word magazine's March 2007 issue, Fr. Vincent Twomey wrote, "It is time to reclaim St Patrick's Day as a church festival." He questioned the need for "mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry" and concluded that "it is time to bring the piety and the fun together."[25] Canada Children watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Montreal. One of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, whose city flag includes a shamrock in its lower-right quadrant. The parades have been held continually since 1824.[30] In Manitoba, the Irish Association of Manitoba runs an annual three-day festival of music and culture based around St. Patrick's Day.[citation needed] In 2004, the CelticFest Vancouver Society organised an annual festival in downtown Vancouver to celebrate the Celtic Nations and their culture. This event, which includes a parade, occurs the weekend closest to Saint Patrick's Day.[31] In Quebec City, there was a parade from 1837 to 1926. The Quebec City St-Patrick Parade returned in 2010 after an absence of more than 84 years. For the occasion, a portion of the New York Police Department Pipes and Drums were present as special guests. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys. In 1999, when the Maple Leafs played on Saint Patrick's Day, they wore green St. Pat's retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city's downtown core on the Sunday prior to 17 March which attracts over 100,000 spectators.[citation needed] Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick's Day a national holiday.[32] Currently, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only jurisdiction where Saint Patrick's Day is a provincial holiday. In March 2009, the Calgary Tower changed its top exterior lights to new green CFL bulbs just in time for Saint Patrick's Day. Part of an environmental non-profit organisation's campaign (Project Porchlight), the green represented environmental concerns. Approximately 210 lights were changed in time for Saint Patrick's Day, and resembled a Leprechaun's hat. After a week, white CFLs took their place. The change was estimated to save the Calgary Tower some $12,000 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 104 tonnes.[33] St. Patricks day occasionally turns violent due to the large number of intoxicated individuals celebrating in Canada. This was seen, for example, in the 2012 in London, Ontario area, where college students lit a TV van on fire then threw bottles at firefighters (attempting to put out the fire) and police officers in the area.[34] United States The Chicago River is annually dyed green on St. Patricks Day St. Patrick's Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century. Shamrock From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article is about the plant that is a symbol of Ireland. Many places, organisations, businesses, products, creative works etc. use the shamrock in their names. For other uses, see Shamrock (disambiguation). Not to be confused with four-leaf clover.