Language in Diversity

Religious Days

St. Patrick’s Day

Below was the information taken from the Internet and Encarta 98 talking about St. Patrick’s Day.

          The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn’t get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.

          Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

          He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.

          His wishes were to return to Ireland, to convert the native pagans to Christianity. But his superiors instead appointed St. Palladius. But two years later, Palladius transferred to Scotland. Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland.

          Patrick was quite successful at winning convert. And this fact upset the Celtics Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity.

          His mission In Ireland lasted for thirty years. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.

          Much Irish folklore surrounds St. Patrick’s Day. Not much of it is actually substantiated.

Some of this lore includes the belief that Patrick raised people from the dead. He also is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. Of course, no snakes were ever native to Ireland, and some people think this is a metaphor for the conversion of the pagans. Though originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into more a secular holiday.

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.[1]

The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

Today, people celebrate the day with parades, wearing of the green, and drinking beer. One reason St. Patrick’s Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring. One might say it has become the first green of spring.[2]

Easter

          Easter, annual festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the principal feast of the Christian year is celebrated on a Sunday on varying dates between March 22 and April 25 and is therefore called a movable feast. The dates of several other ecclesiastical festivals, extending over a period between Septuagesima Sunday (the ninth Sunday before Easter) and the first Sunday of Advent, are fixed in relation to the date of Easter.

          Easter, a Christian festival, embodies many pre-Christian traditions. The origins of its name is unknown. Scholars, however, accepting the derivation porposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe it probably comes from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally pointed with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

          Such festivals, and the stories and legends that explain their origin, were common in ancient religions. A Greek legend tells of the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth, from the underworld to the light of day; her return symbolized to the ancient Greeks the resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter. Many ancient peoples shared similar legends. The Phrygians believed that their omnipotent deity went to sleep at the same time of the winter solstice, and they performed ceremonies with music and dancing at the spring equinox to awaken him. The Christian festival of Easter probably embodies a number of converging traditions; most scholars emphasize the original relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name for Easter. The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the advent of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

          As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, the Easter egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.

          From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.

          Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter Baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs – those made of plastic or chocolate candy.

The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.

The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.[3]

Christmas

          The history of Christmas dates back over 4000 years. Many of Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The 12th days of Christmas, the bright fires, the Yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals (parades) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians.

          Many of these traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of New Years. The Mesopotamians believed in many gods, and as their chief god – Marduk. Each year as winter arrived it was believed that Marduk would do battle with the monsters of chaos. To assist Marduk in his struggle the Mesopotamians held a festival for the New Year. This was Zagmuk, the New Year’s festival that lasted for 12 days.

          On the other side, Some legends claim that the Christian “Christmas” celebration was invented to compete against the pagan celebrations of December. The 25th was not only sacred to the Romans but also the Persians whose religion Mithraism was one of Christianity’s main rivals at that time. The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights, and girls from the Saturanilia festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas.

The exact day of the Christ child’s birth has never been pinpointed. Traditions say that it has been celebrated since the year 98 AD. In 137 AD the bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD, another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance of Christmas.

On the night before Christmas, all across the world, millions of children will be tucked in their beds while “visions of sugarplums dance in their heads”. When they awake, they will check their stockings to see if Santa Claus has come.

Santa Claus has become the most beloved of Christmas symbols and traditions. The image of the jolly old elf fling in a sleigh pulled by reindeers and leaving toys and gifts for every child is known-worldwide.[4]

CONCLUSION

          There are three kinds of the celebration days related to the religion, in this case Christianity; those are St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Christmas. Mostly it celebrates the life of Jesus Christ. In St. Patrick’s Day people usually dress in green and attach the Shamrock pin, the three-leafed clover.

          They have a big party both in Easter and in Christmas. The difference in celebrating Easter and Christmas can be seen in the way the people use the decoration and the costumes.


GLOSSARY

Riyanti, Dwi Rahayu, dkk.. 2007. Cross-cultural Understanding. Jakarta:

Universitas Terbuka.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Patrick’s_Day

http://kaskus.us/archive/index.php/t-290083.html

http://wilstar.com/holidays/patrick.htm


[1] Rahayu Dwi Riyanti, dkk., Cross-cultural Understanding, p. 6.2-6.5.

[3] Rahayu Dwi Riyanti, dkk., Cross-cultural Understanding, p. 6.4-6.6.

[4] ibid., p. 6.7-6.12.

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