On This Day
1780 – American Revolution: George Washington grants the Continental Army a holiday “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence”.
Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilís, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians who belong to liturgical denominations also attend church services and historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (for provincial government employees), and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of the Irish diaspora, particularly those that developed in North America. However, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations for having become too commercialised and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish people.
Born On This Day
1806 – Norbert Rillieux, African American inventor and chemical engineer (d. 1894)
Norbert Rillieux (March 17, 1806 – October 8, 1894) was an American inventor who was widely considered one of the earliest chemical engineers and noted for his pioneering invention of the multiple-effect evaporator. This invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry. Rillieux, a French-speaking Creole, was a cousin of the painter Edgar Degas.
Norbert Rillieux was born into a prominent Creole family in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the son of Vincent Rillieux, a white plantation owner, and his placée, Constance Vivant, a free person of color. Norbert was the eldest of seven children. His siblings were: Barthelemy, Edmond, Marie Eugenie, Louis, Marie Eloise, and Cecile Virginie. Norbert’s aunt on his father’s side, Marie Celeste Rillieux, was the grandmother of painter Edgar Degas. His aunt on his mother’s side, Eulalie Vivant, was the mother of Bernard Soulie, one of the wealthiest gens de couleur libre in Louisiana. One of
Norbert’s cousins was the blind writer Victor Ernest Rillieux.
As a Creole of color, Norbert Rillieux had access to education and privileges not available to lower-status free blacks or slaves. Baptized Roman Catholic, Rillieux received his early education at private Catholic schools in Louisiana before traveling to Paris in the early 1820s to study at École Centrale Paris, one of the top engineering schools in France. While at École Centrale, Norbert studied physics, mechanics, and engineering. He became an expert in steam engines and published several papers about the use of steam to work devices. These early explorations became the foundation of the technology he would later implement in his evaporator. At 24 (1830), Rillieux became the youngest teacher at École Centrale, instructing in applied mechanics.
By Ilana Kaplan: See Lady Gaga Perform Sinatra Songs During Surprise Set at Hollywood Bar
By Bente Birkeland: For Some Colorado Lawmakers, The Death Penalty Debate Is Personal
Yet, for Democratic state Sen. Rhonda Fields, the death penalty is not just a question of policy. Of the three men on death row in the state, two are there for the murder of her son Javad Marshall Fields and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe. They were killed days before Javad was set to testify as a witness in a murder trial.
“It’s just a part of my experience,” Fields says. “It’s a part of who I am as a lawmaker. It’s a constant pain I live with every day. It’s something that you … don’t get over, you just live through.”
Kayaking with Ilene Price: I’D DIP MY PADDLE IN THAT: Lake Superior Kayaking + 12 Reasons to Visit the Keweenaw Peninsula
By Chelsea Janes and Michael Scherer: Pete Buttigieg, the young and openly gay Midwest mayor, finds a voice in crowded Democratic presidential field
The mayor says he claims no artifice. “I am not skilled enough or energetic enough to craft a persona. I just have to be who I am and hope people like it,” Buttigieg said. “I think people in our party tie themselves up in pretzels trying to be more electable.”
He fields questions differently from most other candidates, leaning on numbers and context and maintaining a noteworthy willingness to answer “yes” or “no.”
Buttigieg also shows a facility with Twitter. When Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chief executive who’s considering an independent run for president, said he’d spent more time with the military than anyone running, Buttigieg was quick with a facetious response highlighting his time in the Afghanistan war zone.
“I remember a Green Beans Coffee at the exchange at Bagram, and a decent espresso machine run by the Italian NATO element at ISAF HQ,” he tweeted, referring to the Afghanistan mission. “But I don’t recall seeing any Starbucks over there.” Schultz apologized.
Ha! Make a great Monty Python skit.
By Matt Walsh: WALSH: I Bought A Lamborghini But Now I Don’t Want To Pay For It. I Demand Lamborghini Loan Forgiveness.
Who is going to pay back the lender? Again, not my concern. If, for some reason, restitution is necessary, then take the money from my neighbor. He paid off the loan on his Honda Civic years ago. He’s got plenty of extra money lying around, I’m sure. It is perfectly just to force someone else to assume my financial responsibilities. I remind you for the umpteenth time: This is me we’re talking about. I would never want to force my neighbor to pay off some random rube’s car, or boat, or patio, or whatever. That would be totally immoral. It would be stealing. It’s unthinkable. But I’m not a random rube. I’m special. I’m important. I have a Lamborghini. Now someone just needs to pay for it.
Atlas Obscura: Explore the haunting mossy ruins of this 16th-century monastery and more ->
By Tracy Moran: How Israel’s Grandmotherly Hero Fell From Grace
Why you should care
Because leading a nation requires thinking outside the box.
Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Patti Smith Sings “The Tyger” and Reflects on William Blake’s Transcendent Legacy as a Guiding Sun in the Cosmos of Creativity; Trailblazing 18th-Century Artist Sarah Stone’s Stunning Natural History Paintings of Exotic, Endangered, and Extinct Species and more ->
Limecello: WHM: Cynthia Sax on Trailblazing Women In Science Fiction Romance