(Photo source) Wow! Bucharest has gone nuts for St Patrick's Day this year, what with turning the Casa Nebunului green, concerts, a ball at the Marriott and other such shenanigans! Fantastic! Check out THIS video :o)
There are five whole days filled with a variety of events throughout the capital which started Friday evening with the ball, and then there's a whole heap of stuff organised in partnership with the Irish Embassy running through until Tuesday. I wish I were there to see mad leprechauns bouncing around the Old Town with pints of green beer in their hands!
Underway right now is the "biggest" (but, of course) float parade in Continental Europe at Piata George Enescu. See HERE. I only hope the weather is better there than here, or there'll be some rather soggy shamrocks!
(Photo source: Raiffeisen Sky Tower) Tonight at 17h, why not pop along to Lipscani for an outdoor concert featuring Córas, Vyvienne Long, Aoife Dermody, U2 Zen Garden, Antonia, VUNK, The Dada, Mojo Band and DJ Kormak Blackbeers. Nothing like a jig to get things going!
Tomorrow night, you can catch a concert of classical music at 19h with the Irish cellist Vyvienne Long and the Adagio String Quartet at the Anglican Church and that's not all - Tuesday evening (19th) will see a gala concert with Irish soprano Patricia Brady and tenor Florin Ormenisan accompanied by the Wiener Walzer Opera Orchestra, under the baton of Lucian Vladescu at the Cercul Militar. Talk about spoilt! Oh, and entrance is free.
So, why has Romania suddenly decided to host the biggest St Patrick's Day festival the country has ever seen, as I've been scrambling to find a connection... Well, apparently, it's to mark the Irish presidency of the European Union, Mediafax reports. And of course to make some dosh. Good for them's what I say. If anyone knows how to party, it's the Romanians. Add the Irish to that and you've got a recipe for a St Patrick's you won't forget in a hurry!
(Photo source) Furthermore (as if that wasn't enough to have you too knackered for work tomorrow), Guinness celebrates St.Patrick’s day in pubs all over Romania, all weekend. The brand aims to bring 'the spirit of Irish parties' to the main pubs around the country, preparing a series of surprises called “Paint the Town Black”. This event is made up of ten strict rules for Guinness drinkers, and apparently, one must knock back three pints during an evening, enabling them to win a number of prizes. Between March 7-17, Guinness has been organising such events in 85 partner pubs of Brasov, Sibiu, Ploiesti, Constanta, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Timisoara, Oradea, Craiova and Bucharest.
In order to celebrate St Patrick properly, perhaps we should know a little of who he actually was. As famous as he may be, his life actually remains something of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.
(Photo source) Here is an account from THIS site: 'It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the IVc. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God's—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.
(Photo source) To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.' (Text: History.com)
So there you go. Now you know!
By the way, a little Irish may come in handy (Just click on the hyperlink for pronunciation). Here are some helpful phrases to get you through the weekend:
Pionta Guinness, le do thoil: A pint of Guiness please
Cá mbeidh tú ag fliuchadh na seamróige? : Where will you be wetting the shamrock? (to wet the shamrock - to go for a drink, especially on St. Patrick's Day!)
An bhfuil tú ar meisce fós? : Are you drunk yet?
Éirinn go brách: Ireland forever
Go raibh maith agat: Thank you
Tá fáilte romhat: You're welcome
Beannachtai na Féile Padraig oraibh (St Patrick blessings be upon you)! Enjoy the craic!