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Our holiday traditions are not always completely accurate
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We are a gullible bunch, aren’t we?

On March 17 each year, folks will put on a green derby or a big shamrock pin and speak with a phony Irish brogue in celebration of St. Patrick.

Oh, it’s all in good fun and we probably need an good excuse to kick back and have a good time. But we’ve got most of it wrong about Patrick.

First of all, he was born in Great Britain. He probably sounded more like Prince Charles than the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

Folks will crowd into places such as Savannah, Dublin (the one in Georgia) and cities such as New York and Chicago and lift a glass to an Irishman.

The truth is Patrick was captured at age 16 by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland.

I don’t know what Irish pirates wear, maybe a green patch over one eye and a nice emerald-colored earring.

And the long-standing legend about ol’ Pat is he drove the snakes out of Ireland. Turns out, Ireland used to be a glacier. Some snake guru says snakes were not there in the first place.

This stuff comes from the same lore that folks spread about Cinco de Mayo or the fifth of May.

Ask a bar patron on May 5 and they’ll tell you it has something to do with Poncho Villa or maybe winning the Mexican-American war or any number of things. The truth is most folks from Mexico don’t even celebrate the day, which is actually the day Mexican forces won an unlikely victory over the French at Puebla. The only place they celebrate this in Mexico is in Puebla, which is southwest of Mexico City.

But Americans now flock to Mexican restaurants, don a sombrero and order a margarita to celebrate a battle of place most of them couldn’t find on a map. Ditto for Ireland.

I hate to be the bearer of bogus holiday news, but there is not a single saint who is the real St. Valentine. There are historical accounts of as many as three people who were the namesake Valentine.

This is like a scene from the old game show, “To Tell The Truth.” All three guys stand up when legendary announcer Johnny Olson says,  “Will the real St. Valentine please stand up.”

If you are a grownup and are convinced Easter is about a bunny with a basket of painted eggs, we need to talk.

Oh, and while we’re at it, turkey was probably not served at the first Thanksgiving. According to the accounts, the Wampanoag, the Native American tribe that joined the Pilgrims at the feast, brought five deer. The Pilgrims brought fowl, probably ducks and geese.

If you think your relatives stay a while, the feast is said to have lasted three days. By the way, the women were not invited. There was no sweet potato soufflé topped with either marshmallows or pecans.

By the time you read this, I’ll be in Chicago where they’ll dye the river green. That day, everybody’s Irish, right?

Top O’ the Mornin’ to ya.’

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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