Strength is not only measured by physicality. There is so much that goes into measuring the strength of a person and regardless of how strong they might be physically, spiritually, mentally, financially -- we all yearn for connection in some way.
Human beings are a social species, wired to connect. We search for ways to understand our ancestral past, to demonstrate our gratitude for the brave generations who came before us, and, as 2020 taught us, to tether ourselves in an uncertain world.
In Eureka Springs, Arkansas we have connection. This community is strong, vibrant, radically inclusive, and wildly welcoming to all but connection becomes most palpable in the radiant warmth and close relationships of the locals and visitors as we all come together to celebrate St. Patrick's Day each year.
Fun Fact: Did you know that of all the events and activities that happen annually in Eureka Springs, St. Patrick's Day is the largest celebration and brings the most visitors to town. In year's past, we have seen visitation numbers spike to 10,000+ people over the course of a St. Patrick's Day Weekend of events.
Human connection decreases health risks and improves physical well-being and longevity. Strong social connections strengthen the immune system and increase our chances of a longer life by 50%.
In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a holy day of obligation and so going to mass is a must, yet, for them, the celebration of connection is still very much at the fore.
Saint Patrick lived in the 5th Century AD and is understood to have played a major part in converting the Irish to Christianity.
While St. Patrick really existed, and some of his writings survived, his value does not really come from historical details but from the inspiration of a man who returned to the country where he had been a child slave, in order to bring the message of Christ.
He is associated with the shamrock plant because he used it to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity.☘️
Think for a moment, while the Irish sit perched in church pews, smartly dressed with fresh pieces of shamrock plant and green badges (with the Irish harp symbol) pinned neatly to their chests, we will bring a different kind of celebration to the streets of Eureka Springs.
On Saturday, March 18, 2023, beginning at 2pm, the Kaptain's Klub will bring to the streets of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, our Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Before and after the parade, bars, lounges, shops and restaurants will be packed with people wearing green sweaters, crazy glasses, green tights, and bushy orange leprechaun beards and funky hats with shamrocks all the while drinking green beer ... and all in the spirit of connection.
Different! (and that's ok!)
Similar cities across America celebrate St. Patrick's Day in this same manner and yet the celebration of connection is still very much at the fore no matter where (or how) this day unfolds. In fact, many would agree that the whole razzmatazz surrounding the event was invented by ex-patriots all over the world looking for an excuse to celebrate their Irish roots -- and there isn't anything wrong with that!
This is a day to spread cheer and good will and to share in the Irish zeal for life. It is a day that symbolizes the centrality of heritage and one’s roots. It is a day to fly the Irish flag, literally and figuratively, to share in the unique culture, language, rich literary tradition, music, and deep sense of community. It is a day when nostalgia is accepted, scenes of green hills abound, Guinness, soda bread, potatoes, and corned beef, cabbage and bacon are shared with family, ol'friends, new friends and friends we have yet to meet.
Sure. the idea of connection is less commercial for the Irish on St. Patrick's Day since the meaning of this day hits home differently as they beam with pride in their patron saint, in their gorgeous country and in each other.
For Eurekans, and visitors to Eureka Springs, St. Patrick's Day offers another opportunity to forge connections with each other and our visitors in a celebration of the Irish and Irish/American people, their patron saint, their gorgeous motherland, and their strength in community, traditions, lore - and the power of human connections.
Above all, this is a day when feeling Irish runs deep through our core, whether Irish by birth, descent--or not at all. Similar to our welcoming culture here in Eureka Springs, the Irish, too, are quite welcoming. Over time, “the land of a thousand welcomes” became a sort of synonym for Ireland, seemingly because anyone who visited would be captivated by the welcoming attitude of the Irish people towards foreign visitors. So, no matter the percentage of Irish DNA coursing through your veins, all are welcome and included in the festivities wherever you may find yourself on St. Patrick's Day.
While people from all walks of life will come together in cities and towns across America and beyond to raise a pint and join in the celebration and ceili dances, it's watching Eureka Springs come alive with the power of connection that fills me up with joy as the crowds gather with visitors and locals co-mingling, smiles and laughter light up the experience, and the Celtic spirit of community brightens every corner of town.
I've heard it said that the Irish are heartened that Americans celebrate this same sense of connection on St. Patrick’s Day.
This is not surprising since St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of our collective humanity, our relationships and what we can accomplish as a community that works together in harmony. It's no wonder that it is our biggest celebration each year in Eureka Springs.
Eureka is our own private Ireland!☘️
We are privileged, honored and humbled to live in a place that understands human connection, equality, diversity, and inclusion.
Eureka is our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!🌈
Jeff & I wish each of you a very Happy St. Patrick's Day no matter which side of the Atlantic you call home. "Celebrate what and who you're tethered to."
On St. Patrick’s Day, the message from the land of a thousand welcomes is: "You may be miles away or an ocean apart, but you are always close to our hearts."❤️️