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Lion Den -> Expeditions -> Ireland -> ST. KEVIN

St. Kevin's Day

June 3

When's the last time

YOU celebrated the Feast of St. Kevin?

This page is dedicated to purpose of reviving
the old Irish practice of
carousing and making merry
on

the riotous and raucous
Feast of St. Kevin

 
What is the Feast of St. Kevin?

First, you have to know a little about the colorful character known in Ireland as St. Kevin, so click on one of the St. Kevin Links to refresh your memory.

After his death around 618, pilgrims continued to flock to St. Kevin's compound at Glendalough (in the Wicklow Mountain area, just south of Dublin) to celebrate the life and times of this popular, well-liked man. In fact, a pilgrimage to St. Kevin's Church was worth half a pilgrimage to Rome (except some years the exchange rate went as low as seven St. Kevin Pilgrimages to one Rome pilgrimage)

After the British all but destroyed the celebrated compound at Glendalough ("glen of two lakes")  in 1398 the Irish and others still came and prayed and partied in the name of St. Kevin. After the Dissolution of the Monastaries in 1539, when the compound was closed down as an official church site, the ever-faithful fans of St. Kevin showed up every June 3, the anniversary of his death, to party hearty in the memory of the great teacher and holy man.  In fact, the Feast of St. Kevin became quite the riotous event by the 18th and 19th centuries --the peak of the St. Kevin's Day frenzy. The church, which frowned on joyous revelry (at least officially), banned the festival in the 1890s.

The Feast of St. Kevin on June 3rd is also sometimes known as Pattern Day in Glendalough (Pattern Day or simply "Pattern" or "Patten" is the general term in Ireland for a feast of merrymaking, dancing and partying in honor of the local patron. )
St. Kevin's Tower at Glendalough
2000 Kevin Patton, all rights reserved (for permission click here)

Click on thumbnail to see "the big picture"
For more photos of Glendalough click here

 

Why celebrate the Feast of St. Kevin today?

The more important question is WHY NOT?

Kevin of Glendalough (the first person in history to be called "Kevin," by the way) was a charismatic teacher, a man dedicated to the spiritual growth of not only himself but his neighbors, an enthusiastic if somewhat extreme advocate of animal welfare and reverence for the natural world, he wore cool monk robes, he was a lovable kook, and he was a major force in the Irish monastic movement that literally saved Western Civilization. What more does it take to rate a first-class holiday?

 

How does one properly celebrate the Feast of St. Kevin?

The short answer is: any way you please.  Kevin was not a conformist.   He pretty much lived in the moment (what a role model!) and it seems that spontaneity and joy should be the primary elements required for a proper celebration of the Feast of St. Kevin.

Here are a few more tips for celebrating St. Kevin's Day:

1. Well, your celebration really ought to be on June 3, which is St. Kevin's Day.  However, I think it is appropriate to celebrate this joyous event every day by being kind to animals, or at least to people who smell like animals.

2. Since it is a FEAST, and feasting requires refreshments, then the fashionable and authentic celebration of the Feast of St. Kevin really ought to include some goodies.

3. If you are near a lake, that's a great place to celebrate the Feast.  St. Kevin loved the two lakes that dominated his Glendalough home.  One of them was known to have a water monster in it, so if you have a lake nearby that has a water monster in it you have a PERFECT location for your Feast.  Ideally, it's a monster that eats people --St. Kevin's monster ate people (except St. Kevin because the monster sensed he was an animal lover). Note: if you don't have a lake or two, then you may place two bowls or tumblers full of water to represent the lakes at appropriate places (one higher than the other and each a place where it won't be spilled but may attract [small] water monsters).

4. The proper Feast of St. Kevin is not particularly proper at all.  In fact, it really ought to be quite riotous.  Not necessarily unsafe or illegal, but it MUST be blast or it's not really a Feast of St. Kevin.  Loud and exaggerated story-telling of the type that only a true Irishman (or lover of the Celtic way) can accomplish is the hallmark of a great Feast.   The riotousness must also be joyous, not destructive or hateful, and be truly a celebration of life and the divinity that resides in all living and nonliving aspects of our natural world.

5. The Feast must ABSOLUTELY feature appropriate homage to the great saint.   Specifically, large signs or banners acknowledging the saint in whose honor the feast is held are appropriate.  The bolder and brighter the better.  Appropriate colors would be green (for the Emerald Isle) and blue (for the two lakes of Glendalough).    Brown is totally inappropriate because there is no room for crap on this holy and happy day.  Invitations should be as informal as possible, but also very clear that the day's activities honor St. Kevin specifically.  Tee shirts with St. Kevin emblems (such as a lake monster or St. Kevin's Cross) are appropriate but more formal attire is not appropriate except in special circumstances (St. Kevin's symphonies, for example).   Fake beards and monks robes may also be distributed to the guests. Those with the given name of Kevin should be treated as VIPs at your event and be given every special courtesy you can think of (e.g., first in line for food, kisses from women ["Kiss Me, I'm Kevin" lapel buttons are appropriate], washing of their cars, and places of honor at any meals that are served).

6. Folks without a sense of humor should not be invited.  They just wouldn't get it, anyway.

7. Animal products such as cheese and milk are acceptable, but avoid butchered meat on the Feast of St. Kevin.  Try to avoid torturing or maiming animals in any way.  And absolutely no dead cat jokes on this day.

8. ABOVE ALL, and this is by far the most important aspect of celebrating the Feast of St. Kevin (whether on June 3 or every day):

Be kind to others!

 

A great way to prepare for this year's Feast of St. Kevin is to make a pilgrimage to Glendalough in County Wicklow.

How, you ask?  Click here to find out!.

 

Making a Wish at St. Kevin's Cross
2000 (May) Kevin Patton, all rights reserved
(for permission click here)

To see "the big picture" click on the thumbnail

Still a popular tradition for pilgrims to St. Kevin
(with the assurance of St. Kevin's prayers echoing your own)
for your one true desire. 
If your arms don't reach
(as mine don't)
then  you can have a friend help you complete the ring
(as is my friend Nancy does in this photo).

 

Click here to hear a sound file of the Hymn of St. Kevin
(For music notation and lyrics click here)

 

Here are two really nice little books that really gets you into the spirit of St. Kevin --that is into an authentic spiritual exploration of the Celtic notion of "soul friend"

 This page last revised on 04/01/07.
 

 

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