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March 18th is Sheelagh's Day
The day after St. Patrick's Day was known as Sheelagh's day in rural Ireland. There is no consensus on who Sheelagh actually was- St. Patrick's mother, his wife, or an ancient fertility goddess known as Sheela-na-gig. Some believe it's a day to celebrate femininity to balance out the masculinity of St. Patrick's Day.
An old way of celebrating St Patrick’s day was to eat and drink into the early hours of March 18, known as Sheelagh’s day. Like St Patrick’s day, Shamrocks would also be worn during Sheelagh’s day. At the end of the night the Shamrocks would be drowned in the last glass of whiskey. If someone would drop their shamrock into their glass and drink it before the "drowning ceremony" takes place, they have no choice but to get a fresh shamrock and another glass.
Sheelagh’s Day was so widely celebrated in Ireland that emigrants of the late 1600’s took the tradition with them. The day still plays a part in the history of Newfoundland and the term Sheila’s Brush describes a large snow storm that falls around St Patrick’s Day. In Australia, the name Shelia became popular and was first recorded in Australian English in 1832. As we drown our shamrocks and take our last sip, Sláinte to all, and thank you for a wonderful St. Patrick's!
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