Coastal redwoods and wood sorrel, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California
© Jack Dykinga/Minden Picture
Any with four leaves?. St. Patrick's Day
Ireland has been called the land of '40 shades of green,' but this green leprechaun's-eye view comes from the feet of California's coastal redwoods. Today we celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who famously never traveled to California. St. Patrick is often depicted holding a shamrock, which he purportedly used to explain Christianity in Ireland by saying the leaves illustrated the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the Holy Trinity. Never mind that Celtic druids had revered the sacred shamrock and its three leaves long before Patrick's arrival. Coins depicting St. Patrick with a shamrock date back as far as 1675.
Legends of St. Patrick abound. For example, he's said to have driven the snakes out of Ireland, but most experts would suggest it was the cool, damp weather that kept the serpents from ever arriving there in the first place. Tradition has it that he died on March 17 of the year 461 CE, and one can only assume that a year later the first green beer was served.
Whether you find yourself in Dublin, on the California coast, or any point in between today, we leave you with a traditional Irish toast: 'May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.'