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There are many legends surrounding the life of St. Patrick. Of course, the one that we're most interested in is his reputed "mass exodus" of snakes from Ireland. Here's the short version:

It is believed that in 441 A.D., St. Patrick fasted and prayed for 40 days at the summit of Croagh Patrick ("the Reek") in County Mayo. During this time, as blackbirds assaulted him, St. Patrick continued to pray and ring a bell as a proclamation of his faith. It was while he was atop the mountain that St. Patrick drove all the snakes in Ireland to the sea, effectively saving Ireland from some kind of snake revolution.

In answer to his prayers, an angel appeared to tell him that the Irish people would retain their Christian faith for all time.

Historians generally agree that this myth serves as a metaphor for the good works of St. Patrick.

Since snakes are a common pagan symbol — and seeing as how they are not found in Ireland — the tale really symbolizes St. Patrick driving paganism out of Ireland.

We're proud to talk about paganism, though. So if you need a little extra luck - and really, who couldn't use a little extra luck? Here are a few things you can do today:

Find a Four-Leaf Clover

The Druids believed that a four-leafed clover could help in spotting witches or other demons.

Some modern-day spiritualists claim that a four-leaf clover releases energy and helps one's judgment. Yet others feel that finding a four-leaf clover brings good fortune (and not just on St. Patrick's Day).

 

Wear Green

Wear Green

This color represents Ireland (also known as the "Emerald Isle" - get it?), the shamrock, and Spring. Obviously, the color green is as closely associated with St. Patrick's Day as the color red is with Valentine's Day.

Many schoolchildren and others — Irish or not — wear green on St. Patrick's Day.

 

Kiss the Blarney Stone

This famous stone is set in one of the walls in the tower of the Blarney Castle in Ireland. There's a legend behind kissing the Blarney Stone - it's thought that an old woman cast a spell on the stone as a reward to the king for saving someone from drowning. Under the spell, the king spoke eloquently. According to legend, kissing the Blarney Stone brings the kisser "persuasive eloquence" ("blarney").

Of course, kissing the Blarney Stone is no easy task - you have to bend over backwards and hold onto a metal bar due to the stone's unusual location.

The Pack at PetsWeekly wishes you all a very happy St. Patrick's Day - drink a green beer for us. But remember that green beer (or any beer) is very bad for pets. I'm sure that dogs around the world would all appreciate some green rice, or perhaps a wee bit of green eggs and ham!
 

Learn more about legends and superstitions:

stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


Reptile Quotes

  • "Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head."
    William Shakespeare
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Reptile Facts

  • It is thought that dinosaurs eventually evolved into birds. Many dinosaurs, if not most, were thought to be warm-blooded, and reptiles are cold-blooded.
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