WE SCOTS-IRISH will use any day as an excuse to celebrate.

This one is for Marjorie Marie Cloughley McKain Marshall, otherwise known as my mother and the heroine of my life.

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries”“spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life. []

In the midst of the Scots-Irish that settled in Virginia, where we now live, lies the history of our family. It’s not by accident I would feel at home in this area of America after living so many places across this land that I have loved.