St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by many nationalities these days, not just by the Irish. In talking with my husband, he told me it is not a holiday celebrated by Puerto Ricans (however, they do celebrate Cinco de Mayo- a Mexican Holiday.) So when he moved to the states, he began adopting a few of our traditions…and who wouldn’t want an excuse to drink green beer (other than a Celiac, of course?!) A little about the Patron Saint Patrick: Did you know he was British? He was taken captive to Ireland, converted to Christianity, where he eventually became an ordained priest. He is also the person to impose a sun onto the Christian cross, to create what we all know now as the Celtic cross. However, it is only a myth that he eradicated all snakes from Ireland. He is believed to have died on March 17th, 460 AD, which is where we get our St. Patrick’s Day!
So where did we get our St. Patrick’s Day traditions? Symbolizing the rebirth of spring, the Shamrock: Near the 17th Century, British rule had begun to seize Irish land and outlaw their Irish language and Catholicism. Irish Nationals began to wear the Shamrock as a symbol of national pride and to rebel against the English rule. Corned Beef and Cabbage: Though Cabbage has long been a staple in Irish food (and as we learned in Scrumptious Slaw, is also INCREDIBLY healthy for us,) Corned Beef only began since the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living in the lower east side of New York substituted Corned Beef for Irish Bacon in the diet to save money. They learned this substitution from their Jewish neighbors. Green: why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Actually, Green wasn’t the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know it was blue? There is actually a color called St. Patrick’s Day Blue. Green came from the Shamrock, the Emerald Isle, and in 1798 they had the United Irish Uprising and wore Green uniforms. Only here in the United States, did we adopt green as the color of St. Patrick’s Day.
Now, back to my husband…I decided last year (after not being able to go out and partake in the drinking of the green beer,) that a new tradition must begin, and I started making Stuffed Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. I told my husband we’d start our own tradition. He, of course, had never had Stuffed Cabbage, so I was excited to introduce him to a new favorite of mine. This meal is easy to prepare, reheat, and the best part: it is GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, AND MSG-FREE!! So grab your cabbage, throw on something green, and enjoy the tasty life with the gluten-free wife!