Category Archives: Festivities

Symbols of the UK (Part 3)

IRELAND

Emerald isle is rich in folklore that creates its many symbols.

Shamrock

Celtic symbol for luck, it’s a three-leafed clover that grows abundantly in Ireland. It’s so important in the heart of Irish because St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used a 3-leaf clover to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity while teaching about Christianity. The shamrock is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, which has become the Irish national holiday, and is observed with parades and celebrations worldwide. The custom of wearing shamrock on the day is still observed.

 

Harp

The traditional symbol of Ireland, the harp is said to reflect the immortality of the soul. The Irish loved to entertain guests with the use of a harp during the Gaelic times and it remains one of the most popular Celtic instruments today. You’ll find the harp everywhere in Ireland, from coins, uniforms and the state seal to the Guinness pint glass. It even became part of the national flag of Ireland from the 18th to the 19th centuries.

 

Leprechaun

We couldn’t write about symbols of Ireland without mentioning the leprechaun. It’s a small creature obsessed with its gold. Clad in green, the leprechaun is often drawn as a bearded old man of dwarfish proportions. He has also been said to love mischief and pranks of all sorts. If you catch one, you get three wishes and a pot of gold!

 

Celtic cross

This symbol is a variation of the Christian cross. In the history of St. Patrick, after converting Pagans to Christianity, he wanted them to identify with the Christian cross. He chose to incorporate a Pagan symbol on the cross in order to facilitate their assimilation. Since Pagans are traditional worshipers of nature, he added a circle, representing the sun – a highly revered pagan symbol, into the cross.

 

 

Easter in Spain

Easter in Spain – Seville

Holy Week in Spain is the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions, declared of International Tourist Interest, they take place on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter. These associations have their origins in the Middle Age, but also in the Baroque Period and in the last two centuries.

It is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter and features the procession of pasos, floats of life like wooden sculptures.
Some of them are of great antiquity and are considered artistic masterpieces, as well as being culturally and spiritually important to the local Catholic population.

 Traditional Dress

The nazareno or penitential are dressed with a tunic, a hood with conical tip, used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colors and forms of these robes depend on the procession. The robes were widely used in the medieval period to demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity. They carry processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses, may walk the city streets barefoot, and, in some places may carry shackles and chains on their feet as penance.

The traditional suit worn by women on Thursday is known as “La Mantilla”. This custom has become revitalized since the 1980s. The outfit consists of the lace mantle, stiffened by shell and a black dress. It is expected for the woman to hold and show a rosary.

The Paso

At the centre of each procession are the pasos, an image  set atop a moveable float of wood.

The processions start in the evening and finish in the midnight, occupying the streets with religious images, nazarenos and incense scent.

The Music

Behind the Paso, you can find the band of bugles and drums and sometimes it includes clarinets or the saxophones. Saeta is a way of singing that is full of passion. It is sang to the Image from a balcony or in the street, meanwhile the Paso is going along its path.

Traditional food

For Catholics, one of the routines during Easter is to eliminate meat from their diet. This seeks to symbolically honor the wishes of Jesus that appear in Scripture.

You can enjoy during this period particularly two products: Cod and Torrijas.

Torrijas are pieces of fried bread soaked in milk or sweet wine. Usually it has a touch of lemon, honey and cinnamon depending on the recipe.

Torrijas
Cod

St. Patrick Day – Traditions

 

St. Patrick’s Day – St Patrick day traditions

Every 7th of March St. Patrick day is celebrated, this traditional festivity comes from an ancient story and has a lot of symbolic elements. Discover the history and the meaning of them:

  • The Shamrock

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

  • Irish Music

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs.

  • The Snake

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

  • Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

  • The Leprechaun

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.