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St.Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day


Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation /dɪˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃən/ осуждение of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.

According to different versions of his life story it is said that he was born in Britain, around 385AD. His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Roman citizens living in either Scotland or Wales. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.

Many people ask the question «Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland?» The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

In the custom known as “drowning the shamrock”, the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of the evening.

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been – the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick’s death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city.

St. Patrick’s Day Facts

  • Patrick’s Day is observed on the 17th of March and it celebrates St Patrick who is said to have died on that date.
  • In Ireland people wear small bunches of shamrocks on their clothes to celebrate the holiday. Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women wear green ribbons.
  • The Irish flag is green, orange and white.
  • Four-leaf clovers are considered to be lucky. Each leaf means something: hope, faith, love and luck.
  • There are 10, 000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover.
  • The traditional symbols for St. Patrick’s Day are the shamrock, leprechauns, a harp /hɑːp/арфа, green, the Celtic cross, and the Blarney Stone.
  • A toast for St Patrick’s Day, “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”
  • In 1903, St Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland.
  • The first St Patrick's Day parade in Ireland was held inWaterford in 1903.
  • The first St Patrick's Day parade took place in Russia in 1992. Since 1999, there has been a yearly «Saint Patrick's Day» festival in Moscow and other Russian cities such as St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Voronezh, and Volgograd. In 2017, theRussian Orthodox Church added the feast day of Saint Patrick to its liturgical calendar to be celebrated on 30 March.

Legend of the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle is a home of the Blarney Stone.

The legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning/ˈdraʊnɪŋ/ утопление.

Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.

St.Patrick's Day

The Blarney Stone

It is difficult to reach the stone.  Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward holding iron bars for support.

The word “blarney” means “clever flattering talk”.


Fun Time!

Let’s make a leprechaun!

leprechaun /ˈleprəkɔːn/ is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief /ˈmɪstʃɪf/ шалость озорство. They are solitary /ˈsɒlɪtəri/ одинокий creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom. 

For this you need:

  • green, black, white and yellow construction paper
  • a glue stick
  • scissors
  • markers
  • orange wool for felting to make a beard
  1. Make a hat out of green construction paper.
  2. Glue on a black stripe with a yellow buckle.
  3. Cut a face out of white paper and glue a hat to the top of it.
  4. Draw eyes, a nose, and a smile with a black marker.
  5. Arrange the orange beard around his face first and then stick it.
  6. There you have a cute little leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day!

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London street party

The Notting Hill Carnival


British Traditions

Notting Hill Carnival

Hi, there!

Have you ever been to the Notting Hill Carnival? I was lucky enough to feel its spirit of freedom, to taste and smell it from inside. I was overwhelmed by its vibrant atmosphere, diversity of colours, music and, of course, people! And now I want to share with you, my dear readers, some breathtaking moments of this stunning event! You can also watch my video about the Carnival here.

Every August London is home to the great Notting Hill Carnival – the largest arts festival in Europe and second largest carnival in the world after the carnival in Rio de Janiero [ˈriːəʊ də dʒəˈnerəʊ] , Brazil. The carnival is an important cultural event for London’s Afro-Caribbean community and celebration of multi-cultural British life. It is open to everyone and is absolutely free!

London street party

Notting Hill Carnival

The tradition to hold the carnival began in 1964 and it has taken place since then every year on the Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday. Giant throngs of people fill the streets of London during the event to dance to the rhythm of steel drums and join the party.


Public holidays in the UK are generally referred to as bank holidays due to the 4 days so designated by the Bank Holidays Act of 1871. The name is now used as a blanket term for all public holidays in the UK as banks, government offices and most businesses are closed on these days, although an increasing number of smaller shops and larger retail businesses remain open.

Source: www. calendarpedia.co.uk             

The roots of the carnival

This great festival has its roots in the carnivals of the Caribbean, especially Trinidad.  In Trinidad today, the carnival is the main event in the calendar. All work stops and crowds move through the streets, dancing and singing and wearing all sorts of wild costumes. But it hasn’t always been that way.

In the 1800s, during the days of slavery and the British Empire, many black slaves were brought to Trinidad from Africa. They worked on sugar plantations and their life was very hard. Their white masters didn’t allow them to sing, dance or wear their national costumes. They were even forbidden to be in the streets after dark. The only time the slaves were allowed to play musical instruments was during the imported European Carnival that was held six weeks before Easter. But even then, black people could only take part in it to entertain their white masters.

In 1833, when slavery was abolished, the slaves stormed to the streets to celebrate their freedom. The slaves who had had cruel masters made masks and costumes to make fun of them. It was their first real opportunity to express their feelings about slavery and they did it through dancing and singing.

детский день карнавала

Children's day

Soon people from all over Trinidad started to take part in these street celebrations. They became experts in the art of costume making, steel drumming and calypso (a folk song telling a story).

In the 1950-60s many Trinidadians emigrated to Britain in the hope of getting a job and making a home. They made good nurses, conductors and drivers, but many of them were unemployed. Life was hard for them as there was a lot of racism and inequality. Besides, they missed the warmth and the blue skies of the Caribbean. So one day, remembering their great festivals back home, the Trinidadians decided to organise a street procession in Notting Hill to boost their spirits.

root  [ruːt] – корень

the Caribbean  [kəˈrɪbiən] – Карибские острова

Trinidad  [ˈtrɪnɪdæd] – остров Тринидад

slave  [sleɪv] – раб

slavery  [ˈsleɪvəri] – рабство

master   [ˈmɑːstə] – хозяин

to forbid (forbade, forbidden) [fəˈbɪd] – запрещать

Easter   [ˈiːstə] – Пасха

to entertain  [ˌentəˈteɪn] – развлекать

to abolish  [əˈbɒlɪʃ] – отменять

steel drumming   [stiːlˈdrʌmɪŋ] – игра на стальных барабанах

calypso   [kəˈlɪpsəʊ] – калипсо (разновидность песни)

conductor  [kənˈdʌktə] – кондуктор

unemployed  [ˌʌnɪmˈplɔɪd] – безработный

inequality  [ˌɪnɪˈkwɒlɪti] – неравенство

to make fun of smb – высмеивать кого-либо, потешаться над кем-либо

They made good nurses – Из них получались хорошие сиделки

to boost one’s spirits – поднимать настроение 

Nowadays Carnival

Some people trace Carnival to the parties that Claudia Jones, a feminist, political activist and journalist, organized in the wake of the 1958 race riots. In 1965 Rhaune Laslett, the leader of the London Free School, revived the traditional Notting Hill Annual Fair. As a part of a week events, a pageant toured the Grove, was led by a man masquerading as Queen Victoria. From that small procession through the streets with just a few people in costume playing music and dancing in the 1960s, a huge multi-cultural arts festival has evolved. Up to two million people attend it every year!

Today’s festival has many of the original elements of the Trinidad Carnival. The most popular of these are the costume parade (also known as Mas, from Masquerade), the calypso and soca bands. Soca is a more recent musical form and is very popular. It is a mixture of soul and calypso. It is now the music of Notting Hill Carnival. Musicians and artists from all over the world take part in the Carnival.

оркестр стальных барабанов

Steel drumming

The other thing that the Carnival is famous for is food. You can try out goat curry, fried bananas, coconut juice, and the legendary jerk chicken.

The motto of the Notting Hill Carnival is “Every spectator is a participant”, so tourists and visitors are invited to join in and dance.

There is only one group of people who don’t enjoy the Carnival and these are the policemen. For them, the Carnival is two days of very hard work. With a busy event like that, safety of participants is very important. Each year the police issue a list of recommendations for the Carnival – avoid dense crowds, leave early, respect the locals, don’t buy drinks off illegal vendors – that kind of thing.

But what about the real carnivalists? How do they maximise  their bank holiday weekend enjoyment?

Now let’s have a look at some of them:

Bill Lynch, 30 Stallholder: “Have fun and no preconceived ideas – just go and enjoy yourself. There’s something for everyone.”

Bert, age unknown, Member of The Ebony Steel Band: “The girls shouldn’t wear shorts because there are men who get drunk and cause trouble…”

Orion Best, 25, Photographer: “Find a good sound system and stay there.”

Lucy Brown, 23, Student: “Bring bouncy shoes and an umbrella – just in case!”

Peter Jeffries, 31, Trader: “Travel light. Bring enough for a couple of drinks and go to see bands.”

Wiggles, 27, DJ/Producer: “Keep your expectations low. Get drunk and be friendly.”

Temra Francis, 40, Photographer: “Fallow a band. Try to understand their meanings, and themes, because carnival is truly about freedom and expression.”

Tania Edwards, 32, Bookseller: “Go with someone who lives in the area, cause you need somewhere to retreat.”

So, follow the advice and have a good time!

The Mas

Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, enjoying the festival

Quiz Time



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