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Gary's Quotes and Trivia Gems for March

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Welcome to the March quotes and trivia gems.

Ah, the month of March. It holds the hope of spring and the celebration of the always popular St-Patrick’s Day celebrations on 17th!

March at last arrives!  She brings with her the shamrock and the promise of grass and gardens –  a green respite from the white, grey and wet of a long winter.

The shamrock, of course, is the symbol of Ireland and Saint Patrick’s Day. As a Montrealer, we have a special connection with the Irish.

My hometown honours the  Irish diaspora and the contribution Irish immigrants made to the building of the city by including the shamrock in the Montreal city flag.  It’s a tribute to the many Irish descendants that still make up a major segment of the local population.

Our Saint Patrick’s Day Parade parade has been held, uninterrupted, since 1824 in spite of snowstorms, wartime and economic depression. We celebrated the 195th edition last year making this the longest-running parade in Canada.

Montreal Flag

Montreal may be the largest French-speaking city outside of Paris, but on St. Patrick’s Day, every Montrealer claims to have at least a little green in their veins. And many do as the French and Irish have been allies against the British since the 17th century. You’ll find many francophone families sporting Irish surnames like these Johnson, Martin, O’Neill, Nelligan and O’Gallagher.

Speaking of names, the Irish tradition of the last name prefix “Mac” refers to “Son of ..” and the prefix “O” refers to “Grandson of ..”

Here’s Some St. Patrick Trivia.

Did you know that St. Patrick (AD 385-461), the Patron Saint of Ireland, was actually not Irish at all.  

Born in Wales into a wealthy Roman-Christian family, he was kidnapped at the age of sixteen by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland.  After several years he escaped back to Wales only to return to Ireland on his own accord with the mission of converting the Pagan Irish to Christianity.

In modern times, the holiday is associated with the colour green as history has it that St. Patrick used the three-leaf clover, or shamrock, to explain the Holy Trinity.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th  because it’s believed to be the day he died.

There’s a reason the Irish have a reputation for “kicking up their heels” and chugging back an ale or two on St. Patrick’s Day.

The excess partying, came about because the Lenten (Lent) restrictions on eating and drinking were lifted for the day thus allowing revellers to take full advantage of the otherwise austere days prior to Easter.

It’s because of this indulgence that the expression “Paddy Wagon” came to be.  When the drunk Irish were arrested, they’d all say their names were Paddy.

Even if you’re not Irish, you undoubtedly know some Irish songs if you spent any time near a pub in mid-March. I have many favourites but the one I’m always drawn to is the ballad, Oh, Danny Boy.

This month, I pay tribute to the Irish by presenting to you a pot o’ gold Irish proverb GEMS.  

When the  Irish came, they brought with them their songs, their literature and yes their wise, witty, and profound proverbs.

Since I’ve now come to the stage in life when loss is far too common an event, and because I had a very special Irish friend who passed recently, I will leave you with this beautiful and succinct Irish proverb as a tribute to her memory – a reminder to appreciate every moment we have with those we hold dear.

(from a headstone in Ireland)

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”