What’s a saint between friends
Beware the Ides of March said the Bard. Beware indeed, as March 15 was the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. But the month has more to...
Beware the Ides of March said the Bard. Beware indeed, as March 15 was the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. But the month has more to offer than a Shakespearean hero. It also contains the first first day of spring (March 20 this year) for those in northern climes although in places like Canada and the US states that sit on the border, March is something of a calendar joke as the citizens polish their snow shovels to cope with another reminder that Old Man Winter is still around.
Few expats in Panama really miss the joys of winter, unless they are winter sports and hockey buffs, but many do miss the four seasons, particularly spring with its annual harbinger of better times to come.
In England March is said to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. In neighboring Wales it comes in like a dragon, for the dragon is the national emblem of Wales, and the first of March is St David’s day.
Across the principality joyous patriots intone Cymru am byth (Wales for ever) as the National Day is celebrated with song in the true Welsh choral tradition, while in the messes of renowned Welsh regiments the youngest subalterns shows what They are made of as they stands up an eats a large raw leek (the national symbol of Wales along with the daffodil)
And that’s about it. The Welsh have their singing, their rugby (on the way to winning the Six Nations Championship) their language (one of the four oldest languages in Europe) and their Eisteddfodau, cultural gatherings where they celebrate verse, literature dance, song and speeches ---oh how they love to talk.
But for the most part, Wales and St David’s Day, pass unnoticed in the rest of the world.
Not so St Patrick’s Day on March 17. The Irish, who love to kiss the Blarney stone and can challenge the Welsh when it comes to “the gift of the gab.” The world leaders in public relations they have turned their saint’s day into a global celebration, where millions OD on a black bitter liquid known in Dublin as Liffey Water but re-christened for export as Guinness. For those not up to snuff with Irish culture, the Liffey is the river that wends its oleaginous way through the back streets of the city.
Millions more gulp down green beer, sport green hats that convert the wearer into a foreign version of the leprechaun and turn up at work wearing something green. On March 17, all the world is Irish.
What makes it so odd, for the Welsh looking across the Irish sea, is that their history tells them that St David was the man who crossed that treacherous piece of water, to convert the local heathens to Christianity, and that St Patrick is really St David transplanted.
What a PR job. Only the Scots have managed such international recognition for a few minutes a year as from Moscow to New York (traveling east or west) people dance around bellowing Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s eve.
The fact that most of them haven’s a clue what the word’s of Robbie Burns’ poem mean, or are even aware that there was a Robbie Burns scribbling poetry in unreadable dialect in between his womanizing is irrelevant.
The Scots take pride in the distribution of the words of their national hero, revered more than St Andrew. Yesterday I attended a colonial lunch where in honor of St David they served lamb. It should have been lion. Cymru am Byth.