I tried to capture the collected charm that I associate with Ireland. Plenty of beautiful and wild looking flowers, greenery, moss, and naturally- clover. The rustic pieces tie into the old world charm of the country. I added my Waterford flatware and crystal glasses as a nod to the country’s beautiful craftsmanship. My lace-edged napkins and carved wooden chargers seem to hint at the culture as well.
Gather St. Patrick’s Day Inspiration with this Irish Tablescape and Dining Room Décor.
The following 40-day period begins the most solemn time in Christianity. Commencing on Ash Wednesday, this time prepares us for the final chapter in Jesus’ life, his crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, which forms the basis of Christians faith.
Article by Jaime L. Waters February 20, 2020
On Ash Wednesday, we begin the liturgical season of Lent. During this 40-day period, we prepare ourselves individually and collectively to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Today’s readings help to orient us to this season.
Why do we begin Lent by wearing ashes? The first reading from Joel offers insights. The prophet describes an event called the Day of the Lord, a day associated with judgment and destruction. To avoid its consequences, Joel tells his community to perform outward expressions of mourning, such as fasting and weeping (Jl 2:12). These actions enable the people to correct their behavior and focus on improving their relationships with God. Wearing ashes, which can be a sign of mourning, unites us as we embark on this solemn period. The ashes remind us to be introspective and to behave in a way that nurtures our relationship with God. As the second reading proclaims, “we are ambassadors for Christ as if God were appealing through us” (2 Cor 5:20). Today we physically show our beliefs with ashes, but our actions throughout the year must be our actual hallmark.
In the Gospel from Matthew, Jesus outlines three practices especially associated with Lent: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. As wearing ashes does, these acts unite the Christian community in shared practices that help us to live more intentional lives. Almsgiving encourages us to do charitable works. Prayer enables us to commune with God and one another. Fasting directs our attention away from physical needs to focus on spiritual fullness. Yet, Jesus warns that these practices should not be done in order to boast to others. We wear ashes not to show off our holiness to the world but to expose our commitment to consciously living in the manner of Christ.
Our ashes are powerfully symbolic. Made in the shape of the cross, they physically remind us of Christ’s crucifixion and death. They remind us of our own mortality, and they connect us with past liturgical celebrations. Importantly, the ashes we wear are the remains of burnt palm fronds from last year’s celebration of Palm Sunday. Burning palms to produce ashes is a sustainable practice that connects us today with past communities of believers. Our ashes should empower us to seriously embark on this Lenten journey as a community. During this season, we should take actions that foster our connections to God and one another as we prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known as Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.
Parties, parades, celebrations and cool costumes galore. Such is Mardi Gras.
Aye, twill soon be St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration by Irish and non-Irish throughout the world. Join me please, as we discover why so many Irish left their homeland and came to America as their very lives depended on it.
The Great Irish Famine Was a Turning Point for Ireland and America
Internet Archive Book Images/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Article by Robert McNamara and ThoughtCo
In the early 1800s, the impoverished and rapidly-growing rural population of Ireland had become almost totally dependent on one crop. Only the potato could produce enough food to sustain families farming the tiny plots of land the Irish peasants had been forced onto by British landlords.
The lowly potato was an agricultural marvel, but staking the lives of an entire population on it was enormously risky.
Sporadic potato crop failures had plagued Ireland in the 1700s and early 1800s. In the mid-1840s, a blight caused by a fungus struck potato plants across all of Ireland.
The failure of essentially the entire potato crop for several years led to unprecedented disaster. Both Ireland and America would be changed forever.
The Irish Potato Famine
The Irish Potato Famine, which in Ireland became known as “The Great Hunger,” was a turning point in Irish history. It changed Irish society forever, most strikingly by greatly reducing the population.
In 1841, Ireland’s population was more than eight million. It has been estimated that at least one million died of starvation and disease in the late 1840s, and at least another one million immigrated during the famine.
Famine hardened resentment toward the British who ruled Ireland. Nationalist movements in Ireland, which had always ended in failure, would now have a powerful new component: sympathetic Irish immigrants living in America.
The botanical cause of the Great Famine was a virulent fungus (Phytophthora infestans), spread by the wind, that first appeared on the leaves of potato plants in September and October of 1845. The diseased plants withered with shocking speed. When the potatoes were dug up for harvest, they were found to be rotting.
Poor farmers discovered the potatoes they could normally store and use as provisions for six months had turned inedible.
Modern potato farmers spray plants to prevent blight. But in the 1840s, the blight was not well understood, and unfounded theories spread as rumors. Panic set in.
The failure of the potato harvest in 1845 was repeated the following year, and again in 1847.
In the early 1800s, a large part of the Irish population lived as impoverished tenant farmers, generally in debt to British landlords. The need to survive on small plots of rented land created the perilous situation where vast numbers of people depended on the potato crop for survival.
Historians have long noted that while Irish peasants were forced to subsist on potatoes, other crops were being grown in Ireland, and food was exported for market in England and elsewhere. Beef cattle raised in Ireland were also exported for English tables.
British Government Reaction
The response of the British government to the calamity in Ireland has long been a focus of controversy. Government relief efforts were launched, but they were largely ineffective. More modern commentators have noted that economic doctrine in 1840s Britain generally accepted that poor people were bound to suffer and government intervention was not warranted.
The issue of English culpability in the catastrophe in Ireland made headlines in the 1990s, during commemorations marking the 150th anniversary of the Great Famine. Britain’s then-Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret over England’s role during commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the famine. The “New York Times” reported at the time that “Mr. Blair stopped short of making a full apology on behalf of his country.”
It is impossible to determine precise numbers of the dead from starvation and disease during the Potato Famine. Many victims were buried in mass graves, their names unrecorded.
It has been estimated that at least half a million Irish tenants were evicted during the famine years.
In some places, particularly in the west of Ireland, entire communities simply ceased to exist. The residents either died, were driven off the land, or chose to find a better life in America.
Irish immigration to America proceeded at a modest pace in the decades before the Great Famine. It has been estimated that only 5,000 Irish immigrants per year arrived in the United States prior to 1830.
The Great Famine increased those numbers astronomically. Documented arrivals during the famine years are well over half a million. It is assumed that many more arrived undocumented, perhaps by landing first in Canada and walking into the United States.
By 1850, the population of New York City was said to be 26 percent Irish. An article titled “Ireland in America” in the “New York Times” on April 2, 1852, recounted the continuing arrivals:
On Sunday last three thousand emigrants arrived at this port. On Monday there were over two thousand. On Tuesday over five thousand arrived. On Wednesday the number was over two thousand. Thus in four days twelve thousand persons were landed for the first time upon American shores. A population greater than that of some of the largest and most flourishing villages of this State was thus added to the City of New York within ninety-six hours.
Irish in a New World
The flood of Irish into the United States had a profound effect, especially in urban centers where the Irish exerted political influence and got involved in municipal government, most notably in the police and fire departments. In the Civil War, entire regiments were composed of Irish troops, such as those of New York’s famed Irish Brigade.
In 1858, the Irish community in New York City had demonstrated that it was in America to stay. Led by a politically powerful immigrant, Archbishop John Hughes, the Irish began building the largest church in New York City. They called it St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and it would replace a modest cathedral, also named for Ireland’s patron saint, in lower Manhattan. Construction was halted during the Civil War, but the enormous cathedral was finally finished in 1878.
Thirty years after the Great Famine, the twin spires of St. Patrick’s dominated the skyline of New York City. And on the docks of lower Manhattan, the Irish kept arriving.
“Ireland in America.” The New York TImes, April 2, 1852.
Lyall, Sarah. “Past as Prologue: Blair Faults Britain in Irish Potato Blight.” The New York Times, June 3, 1997.
How To Eat More Fiber At Every Meal To Lose Weight And Get Regular
These high-fiber meal and snack ideas will help you meet your health goals.
A 2016 study found people who reported higher fiber intake from eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables had an almost 80% greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up period. That is, they were less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability. It could be that these people made better food choices overall or were more physically active, but it’s definitely worth eating more foods with fiber.
What is fiber?
Found in beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, fiber is the stuff our bodies don’t digest—which is part of what makes it so beneficial. While some fiber is changed by intestinal bacteria into products that are absorbed, most of it travels all the way through your digestive system, basically grabbing and pushing other things through. Unfortunately, many of us fall short on fiber, and because low intake is associated with a range of health concerns, it is considered a nutrient of public health concern.
Fiber is a superhero with powerful benefits. Foods with more fiber help you get regular and bring healthy dividends in the vitamins and minerals they contain. Here are some of the ways fiber can boost your health:
Fiber helps you feel full longer, which helps with weight control. Bye-bye, snack attack.
Fiber helps fight heart disease by carrying cholesterol compounds out of the body and reducing cholesterol production.
Fiber helps slow digestion, which keeps blood sugar stable.
Fiber helps your gut health. Researchers at the University of Nebraska found that eating fiber-packed whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, or especially a mix of the two, altered the gut bacteria to reduce inflammation.
Fiber acts like a broom, promoting regularity and reducing constipation. It can also help prevent hemorrhoids.
How much fiber do you need?
To know where you’re going, you need to know your goal. Fiber recommendations vary by age and gender. Fiber requirements decrease with age because calorie requirements go down as we age. And women generally need fewer calories than men so general guidelines are 14 grams fiber per 1,000 calories. (Here are 5 signs your body wants you to eat more fiber.)
Use this chart to check your personal fiber needs:
Women 19 to 30 years old = 28 grams per day
Women 31 to 50 years old = 25 grams per day
Women 51 and older = 22 grams per day
Men 19 to 30 years old = 34 grams per day
Men 31 to 50 years old = 31 grams per day
Men 51 and older = 28 grams per day
The winning strategy is to have fiber-rich foods on hand. When they’re in the kitchen or fridge, they become meals and snacks. Make a couple high-fiber recipes each week to help you meet your goal. As you add more fiber, do it gradually to let your digestive tract adjust.