(By: Sylvia Miño – freelance journalist / Toledo Spain)

An important appointment.


– Saint Patrick’s Day in Toledo

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the globe today. March 17th is a date marked in green on the calendars of many countries: a day for gathering, toasts, luck and happiness. It is a big party specially in Ireland and the United States. In Spain it is neither a public holiday (as we have to work or go to school) nor a serious one. It is just a fun day!

In Verbálika, we have dyed GREEN for the occasion. Our teachers and students are holding the “Irish spirit” and smiles are all around. Our last Friday Speaking Club was dedicated to the topic so we all learnt together interesting stuff about the origins, proverbs and traditions of this Irish celebration that transforms the World for a day.

Boards games, celtic music and irish sayings were present in the classrooms as well as “green outfits” such as: hats, ties, face painting and whistles.

Check the happy faces of our “Verbálika people” and look for a pot of gold, a shamrock or a rainbow. You can even try to spot a “leprechaun” or two, let us know if you find them!


Academy and students

Our green staff! Ouafa

Our green staff! Allegra


Our green staff!! Romina


Our green staff!! Sylvia

DSC_0591 DSC_0589 DSC_0588 DSC_0587 DSC_0586 DSC_0585 DSC_0583 DSC_0582 DSC_0581 DSC_0580 DSC_0576 DSC_0575 DSC_0574 DSC_0572  Our headquarters and WONDERFUL students! 🙂

– Who was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born to wealthy parents in the late fourth century. Until the age of 16 years old, he thought of himself as a pagan. He was kidnapped and sold as a slave so that during his capture he turned to God and decided that his “calling” was to convert all the pagans in Ireland into Christianity. He died on the 17th of March, AD 461.

– Legend and Folklore

Shamrocks, leprechauns and the blarney stone are associated with St. Patrick’s Day. On this day, pictures of shamrocks and leprechauns are hung everywhere! Some people even dress up as leprechauns complete with their big green hats, maybe hoping to find the fortune of gold… who knows!

The village of Blarney is situated northwest of the Irish village of Cork. Blarney comes from the Irish word ‘An blarna’, meaning the plain. Blarney Castle is a very famous castle in this village and is 90 feet tall. The world famous Blarney Stone is on the top storey. It is said that if one kisses this stone, one will be given the “gift of eloquence”, meaning to have beautiful speaking abilities: “the gift of gab”!

Legend also says that St. Patrick could raise people from the dead. He is well- known for driving the snakes out of Ireland and for using the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity.


Green fields of Ireland

– Some of the Facts

Many Irish people have emigrated from Ireland to the United States over the last few centuries. They started to leave after “The Great Famine” searching for a better life and oportunities. They brought St. Patrick’s Day with them to the different places where they established. Originally, it is a serious religious holiday in Ireland, but it has been changed quite a bit with the time particularly in America and other places which have adopted the custom.

Today, there are no doubts that the “green spirit” is present and invades us all in some way or another.

People enjoy St. Patrick’s Day by wearing GREEN! In fact – in the land of the Saint – if you don’t wear at least one small green item, school children may pinch you. On this day many people also enjoy going to a pub and drinking beer. Irish clubs and pubs often hold parties or have special deals. They tell jokes and have a good time. People who visits but are not from Ireland like to pretend they are Irish, too. How sweet that is! Don´t you think?

Some cities like Dublin hold large street parades or organise marathons to mark on the date.


Cada día más gente en el mundo se tiñe de verde para celebrar San Patricio, patrón de Irlanda, cada 17 de marzo. La propia historia de Irlanda, la llamada “Isla esmeralda”, es la que puede explicar que una fiesta tan local y tan autóctona como ésta haya roto fronteras para posicionarse en ciudades de todo el mundo cómo: Nueva York, Boston, París, Sidney o Londres.

El pueblo irlandés, sobre el año 1800, sufrió lo que conocemos cómo la Gran Hambruna (The Great Famine) y se vió obligado a abonar su tierra en busca de nuevas oportunidades y una vida mejor. Algo que parece lejano pero que, sin embargo, estamos presenciando hoy en día también con el pueblo Sirio o Palestino en Oriente Medio por causa de la guerra.

Muchos irlandeses cambiaron sus verdes campos por destinos cómo Reino Unido, Estados Unidos, Canadá o Argentina, entre otros. Esto llevó a dejar raíces de su cultura allí dónde fueron. Cómo buenos inmigrantes trataron de mantener sus tradiciones, su música, su gastronomía… sin perder el apego y la nostalgia por una tierra de gran belleza natural, cultural y humana como es la suya.

San Patricio es un día para recordar las raíces y la historia de Irlanda, para compartir con amigos y familia, disfrutar del gran desfile en Dublin (St Patrick’s Parade), la música tradicional, los estofados con patatas y verduras (stew) y, como no, de una buena Guiness.

Si has tenido la suerte de visitar o vivir por algún tiempo en aquella tierra… verde, húmeda y fría de temperatura pero cálida por el carácter de sus gentes; podrás entender por qué San Patricio cautiva. Es algo que nos seguirá enamorando a muchos de por vida!



– Some useful vocabulary

Emigrate– leave from a country to move to another

Century– 100 years

Religious– having to do with church or God

Pinch– to squeeze something, to hurt someone by squeezing their skin with your finger and thumb

Shamrock– a three leaf clover found growing in patches on grass. You are thought to be lucky if you find a four-leaf one, so do keep it if you ever come across one!

Leprechauns- are little Irish fairies, and they are thought to work as shoe-makers for other fairies. The Irish say that if a leprechaun is caught by a human, he will reveal where he hides his pot of gold.

Blarney- it means the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech without offending.

Pub– bar/ tavern, a place to drink beer or other alcohol.

Marathon– a long running race (like a 10K run)



– Irish quote & saying of the day

Traditional Irish Blessings:


“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night” (Que tus bolsillos sean pesados y tu corazón sea ligero. Que la buena suerte te persigue cada mañana y noche), “May your day be touched with a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart and warmed with smiles by the people you love” (Que tu día sea tocado con un poco de suerte irlandesa, iluminado por una canción en tu corazón y calentado con sonrisas por las personas que amas).

Luck o’ the Irish!!!


Quote by Tenessee Williams:   Luck is believing you’re lucky.


Now that you know almost everything about St. Patrick’s Day, go out tonight to the closest Irish pub you have and enjoy yourselves! Why not to try the Black beer at least once a year? Whatever it may be, don’t forget to wear THE SPECIAL COLOUR today!




(Pictures and text:Sylvia Miño – Sources: © BBC / 2010)