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With the upcoming holiday, I wanted to share a brief history surrounding the often boisterous St. Patrick’s Day and a sweet family treat to help with the celebration. Although not a major holiday, when compared to larger festivals such as Christmas and Easter, my family has always celebrated it. It is a time to bring the family together, recount our blessings, and enjoy our Irish heritage.

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St. Patrick’s day parade, New York

We can learn about Patrick’s life through his Confessions. Despite his family’s deeply held religious beliefs, Patrick lapsed from the Catholic faith in his early teenage years. Further, at the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped from his homeland of Britain and sold as a slave by pirates to an Irish land owner. While incarcerated on the Emerald Isle, he served as a shepherd for six years until his escape back to Britain.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, Ireland.

After this traumatic life experience, Patrick had a newly found faith in God and he desired to serve Him in a manner similar to his father and grandfather. Thus, Patrick became a Christian missionary and, ironically, was sent back to Ireland to join another missionary, Palladius, to cultivate the Faith.

His ability to convert nobility and his charitable works on the isle quickly earned him renown. Naturally, myths and stories followed.

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An icon of St. Patrick in the Byzantine style

These myths surrounding Patrick do a fantastic job of relating his journey throughout Ireland by way of narrative, thus allowing the uneducated at the time to hear of his feats.

Illustration of St. Patrick

St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland

Perhaps the most famous story associated with Patrick is the tale in which he banishes all the snakes from Ireland to punish them for attacking him during a forty day fast. However, there is evidence to suggest that no snakes have lived in Ireland since the Ice Age. Therefore, we can draw that this story is in actuality an analogy of Patrick’s use of Christianity to drive the pagan druids from the isle.

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Oisin invoking the gods from the bank of the Lora

Additionally, there is a legend of Patrick speaking to the souls of Cailte mac Ronain and Oisin, two legendary Irish ancestors. At the time, these warriors would have followed the faith of the druids, but during their conversation, Patrick convinces these souls to convert and renounce paganism. This story echoes the vigor with which Patrick evangelized the Irish people.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral New York, New York.

Based on these stories alone, it is a small wonder that a myriad of different branches of Christianity celebrate the saint. Patrick’s feast day is observed in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican faiths on the seventeenth of March. Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day extends to more than Christianity as it is commonly observed as a secular holiday across the world. For instance, countries such as Japan, Argentina, Russia, and Malaysia also partake in the festivities. But now, time for a treat so you and your loved ones can also celebrate along with the rest of the world!

Ingredients

2 cups of sweet chocolate chips

14 oz of Sweetened condensed milk

2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract

6 oz of white candy coating

2-3 teaspoons of peppermint extract

3 drops of green food coloring

Directions

Melt the chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan with 1 cup of milk

Once melted, remove the heat and stir in vanilla

Spread half into a waxed paper lined 8-inch square pan and chill for 10 minutes or until firm

As the first layer cools, cook and stir candy coating with the remaining milk until the coating is melted and the mixture is smooth in a heavy saucepan over low heat

Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring

Spread over the bottom layer, let chill for ten minutes or until firm

Warm remaining half of the chocolate mixture if necessary; spread over mint layer

Chill for two hours or until firm

Remove from pan; cut into 1-inch squares

Share and Enjoy!

The recipe and more can be found at: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/chocolate-mint-candy-fudge-4075?photo=cGhvdG8tMzgwMjcy
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