St. Patrick's Day has to be my favorite holiday of all time.
As most of you already know, my last name is Flanagan, and you really can't get anymore Irish than that! Since the day we met, my wife and I have shared a love for St. Patrick's Day. So much so, that I proposed to her on St. Patrick's Day as well. As the luck of the Irish would have it, my son's birthday is also on St. Patrick's Day! I can't lie, I prayed for his birthday to fall on this day, and my wife went into labor during the wee hours of March 16th. My little man waited until the 17th to bless us with his presence. In my younger years, I would begin my celebration by throwing on something green, pouring a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey in my coffee, and taking an Irish Car Bomb before I left the house. I would then proceed to visit every establishment in Augusta that was celebrating the holiday. Starting at Wild Wing Cafe at the top of Washington Road, I'd work my way to Downtown Augusta while wearing my green and drinking it too! Nowadays, St. Patrick's Day means much more to me than wearing green and drinking beer... Now, its a time for me to celebrate my family and how lucky I truly am. If you are new to this sacred holiday, I'm here to give you the ins and outs of March 17th.
What to Celebrate
St. Patrick is the “Apostle of Ireland", better known as the patron saint of Ireland.
He's the reason for the season! St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th, the supposed date of his death. St. Patrick is most famous for driving the 'snakes' away from Ireland by spreading Christianity throughout the country. The Irish have since observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families traditionally attended church services in the morning and celebrated in the evening. Lenten restrictions against the consumption of meat were eventually lifted by the church, and people would dance, drink, and dine into the night. It was the Irish people's last chance to enjoy their guilty pleasures in excess, before the end of Lent.
Where to Celebrate
I always suggest supporting your local scene.
If you stay local, you don’t have very far to travel home! You also keep your hard-earned dollars in your local economy. Did you know that the first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in New York City on March 17, 1762? If you can't decide where to go, find the nearest parade and head in that direction. As for my family, we love going downtown. Ahhh… Downtown Augusta. Augusta is a magical place on St. Patrick's Day, especially downtown. It lies right along the Savannah River, and consists of apartments, retail spaces, restaurants, bars, and our medical district. I'll put it this way: If you came to Augusta and asked me what to do, I would send you downtown (Broad Street, specifically). Broad Street is the heart of the downtown area. Streets are blocked off for the parade, fountains are dyed green, and Augusta locals fill the streets! Restaurants and shops open early and close late. The city radiates a wonderful energy and truly comes alive. It's a celebration that culminates in a mix of people from all walks of life. Augusta is wonderful everyday of the year, but there is just something special about St. Patrick's Day!
What to Wear
Legend has it, if you wear green, it camouflages you from leprechauns...
Therefore, if you don’t wear green, you'll be seen by leprechauns and they'll be able to pinch you. That's just one of many reasons to wear green on March 17th. But, did you know that the first official color of Ireland was actually blue? This tradition lasted until the Great Irish Rebellion of 1641. During the 17th century, displaced Catholic landowners and church officials rebelled against the English crown, which had established a large plantation in north Ireland under King James I. Military Commander Owen Roe O’Neill led the rebellion. He flew a green flag with a harp on it to represent the Confederation of Kilkenny, a group that sought to kick out the English Protestants that had taken control of the northern land. Most scholars note this event as the catalyst for changing the color from blue to green. Some claim that wearing green represents the shamrock, a symbol of the holy trinity, which was used to teach Christianity to early Irish people. Personally, I go all out. I have green shoes, clothing, and accessories from head to toe. If you aren't Irish, at least try to look like it on St. Patrick's Day!
What to Eat
Corned beef is regarded as Irish, but it is not technically native to Ireland.
The popularity of corned beef among Irish immigrants may have been due to the fact that this food is considered a luxury in Ireland. In America, corned beef was cheap and readily available. It is traditionally cured in a nitrate/nitrite solution to add flavor and color. The term “corned” refers to the curing process, because the large-grained salt added to the solution resembles corn kernels. Corned beef is typically made from brisket points, flats, or even round roasts. Usually paired with cabbage, it makes for an excellent meal, especially to help with the side effects of consuming too much alcohol. If you have time, I recommend making your own corned beef from scratch. It usually takes 7-10 days to cure, so give yourself enough time to prepare it properly. If you don’t allow enough time for the cure to penetrate the beef, you could be left with an oddly colored spot inside your brisket. Don’t worry, you can still eat it... But it's definitely not as pretty! Remember, when you're cooking a brisket, it is vital that your grill holds the correct temperature. Unlike the competition, who uses antiquated electronics, our grills feature the Smart Grill Technology™ PID algorithm. What does that mean for you? It means that your grill is going to hold the temperature you set it at! It thinks on the fly and makes quick adjustments in order to maintain your desired temperature. Breweries, bakeries, and pharmaceutical companies also use PID technology when manufacturing their products. It is the gold standard of temperature control, and that's not a statement... That's a fact. Do your research before your next grill purchase and save yourself years of headaches!
Experience a taste of Ireland with our authentic Corned Beef recipe!
St. Patrick's Day = The REC TEC Lifestyle
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.
Now that you have the rundown on how to celebrate, go enjoy a parade with your family! For the Flanagan family, it's all about getting together, catching up, and enjoying life. That sounds an awful lot like the REC TEC Lifestyle to me... I never thought about it like that, but maybe that's just another reason why I love St. Patrick's Day! Be safe and have fun, REC TEC nation. Don’t forget to add me on Facebook (Jody Flanagan) and follow me on Instagram (@johndillionsr) for a behind the scenes look at all things REC TEC. I’ll see you at the REC TEC!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jody Flanagan is our resident REC TEC Grills Expert, where he can be seen on all social media platforms, including the weekly Funday Friday program. Jody has years of experience in the cooking industry and enjoys the art of grilling just as much as he loves the REC TEC Lifestyle.