Friday, March 17, 2006

# St. Patrick's Day

The green, the gold, the Black stuff... It's St. Patrick's Day!

As I walked along the streets of Covent Garden, it is interesting to see that all the pubs have gone all out to celebrate this festival. Green flags, images of shamrocks, and great discounts for the Black stuff (Guinness)... I am dazzled by the elaborate decor and the atmosphere.


A little bit of background first...

St. Patrick's Day is a celebration for the patron saint of Ireland (well, you guessed it right, his name is Saint Patrick, haha), who has brought christianity to Ireland. He "drove away the snakes" from Ireland. This phrase is a metaphor to describe that St Patrick ended the pagan practice in Ireland. As in many old pagan religions, nature and animals, including serpent were common and often worshipped.

Why green? Why the shamrocks and why Guinness? Well, Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. The tradition of celebration include "wearing of the green", Irish musics, food and drink (of course), and some people even dye the rivers green.

More importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.

Why on 17 March? You might have guessed it. Yup, it is the day that he died.


Despite the freezing strong wind today, I decided to take a walk to have a feel of the festival. I was strolling in Covent Garden, where pubs are in abundance. All I see is green, green, and more green. Of course, that comes with a lot of advertisement for the 1/2 price Guinness for the day. hehe...

I passed by a group of girl choir singing at one of the squares in Covent Garden. With their sweet voices singing some irish songs, they have attracted quite a crowd. Then I was distracted by another music which started playing nearby. A string quartet, playing Canon in D! Just a nice gift for this nice afternoon...

I was feeling quite happy today (God knows why) that I decided to give myself a little treat today. I bought something that we don't buy usually (cuz it is too expensive), and after some preparation and cooking, here is it!


It has been QUITE a while since we last ate fish, due to the exorbitant price. Such 'chinese' dish really reminded me of home a lot... To cure my homesickness, I decided to add in another typical chinese dish - beansprouts! Ahhh.... A nice hot dinner in a cold cold night...

After the dinner, my housemate dragged me along to a small pub nearby. "You must drink a pint of Guinness on St.Patrick's Day! It's tradition!" So, now we suddenly 'transformed' into Irish and celebrated along with them. Um... just another excuse to drink, maybe?

I like this little traditional English pub... Most of the furniture are wooden, there are barrels and beer tuns above the bar, and there are many decorations on the ceiling, on the wall, on the pillars! Old records, old photos, old posters, etc... decorated the place. There are even an old cigarette vending machine and a jukebox. With a country song playing in the background, the atmosphere is just perfect.


First Chinese, then Irish, now it's time for Turkish Delights! I think we must have been feeling quite elated tonight that we decided to have some desserts. So we 'adjourned' to a turkish shop for some sweet stuffs. There are so many choices to choose from! Nuts, sweets, marshmallows, candy floss (oooh i love this!), biscuits, cakes... We stood in front of the shelves for quite long before making decisions. It is hard to choose!

Another look at the varieties of cheese and yogurt...

All right, that's a nice end of the day - Chinese+Irish+English+Turkish.
I'm loving it!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


The Moody Minstrel said...

Cead mi faille!

(That's an Irish greeting, by the way.)

How DARE you refer to Guinness as "black stuff"!??!!! Guinness is one of the Wonders of the World! (Hmmm...maybe number 29? Don't tell Robin or FH2o...they might get jealous!)

I envy you, YD. I really do. To the point of drooling. Here in Japan I very nearly forgot about St. Patrick's Day altogether, which is sacrilege considering my mother's side of the family is of Irish (and Scottish) descent. I remembered right after breakfast this morning (because it was briefly mentioned on the TV news), just in time to throw on something green and fire up some Irish music on Itunes (which is now fighting with poor Pachelbel...) I don't even have any Guinness or Irish whiskey on hand now!


I also envy that cheese selection. Man..I would love to have one like that nearby...

Okay, whatever. Happy "St. Paddie's" Day, YD!

YD said...

Hey moody! It IS a nice surprise to know your origin! happy St. Patricks to you! (and happy St. Paddle to FH20 maybe hahaha..)

Hehe... Guinness IS black isn't it? Here in UK it is sometime being fondly called the 'black stuff' hehee... anyway I love it... It's the first kind of alcohol I learned to drink last time... and I still love it until now! *starry eyes*

I wish you a very Happy St Patrick's Day! May you be blessed with lots of Luck!

You love the cheese? You should have been here... I was being tortured with all the choices... hahaha... But money constraint holds me back. I just can't get enough of the turkish delights... yummy!

Cheers! This is for you Moody!
St. Patrick's Songs

Pandabonium said...

What a great St. Paddy's day.

I went to an International Real Estate Congress in London in 1988. My first time to meet people from Malaysia (women from the tax office in KL) and Singapore (Singapore Air Lines property manager and his wife). Anyway, one night we went on a pub-crawl - about twenty of us from all over the world. Great fun. The pubs were all different.

Cheese. Like MM I envy the selection. Cheese in Japan is all the same - tasteless. I did manage to find a source for a bit of cheddar now and then.

The fish looks good. What kind of fish is it?

@ロウ 。LOW@ said...

White Pomfret, that is. One of the most popular steamed-fish in Malaysia. We usually deep-fried the smaller fish, go ahead finish the whole fish, including it's bones, head and tail!


I'm sure you enjoy that dish, yd! :)

Happysurfer said...

Hi YD, thanks for sharing your lovely day. I enjoyed reading it.

YD said...

Yup panda, pomfret it is.. thanks low for explaining it. i did it steamed style, with ginger and spring onions. There are variations of styles depending on different 'clans' (I dunno how to classify our chinese 'types' haha.. someone please correct me). For example, cantonese like simple steam to get the fish taste, hokkien does it with stronger seasoning, teochew with the spicy sauce, another clan does it with mushrooms and stuff,... etc.

Low! NOW you remind me of home very very much.. haha.. yes i love the deep fried one which we can eat the whole fish. it's so crispy!

Hey happy, thanks for dropping by! I still laugh everytime i see the Engrish posts in your blog. Marvellous!

Pandabonium said...

Sounds good. You cook 'em I'll eat 'em.

Robin said...

wow, interesting day,

Steam Fish (my fav), did you put a sourplum or salted vege?

And all the cheese! yummy...

YD said...

hehe robin, the style i did that day was cantonese style - steam with ginger, sprinkled with spring onions. the main theme flavour is the fish itself (provided the fish is fresh of cuz..)

next time will be the sourplum style. :-) or the mushroom style. thnx 4 dropping by!