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AGAPI goes green for St Patrick’s day

By Evelyn A. Opilas
Rooty Hill-NSW-Australia
March 12, 2018


A sea of green greeted guests as AGAPI marked St Patrick’s Day with an advance celebration 10 March at the Rooty Hill School of Arts, reinforcing the global reach of Ireland’s patron saint.

AGAPI, or the Association of Golden Australian-Pilipinos Inc, comprises men and women who work for the interests of seniors in Western Sydney, and participate in both mainstream and local commemorative activities.

Starting off with the Australian, Philippine, and AGAPI anthems conducted by Nita Sentinellar, and the invocation from Rose Caoagdan, physical movement became the day’s feature for AGAPI members as they exercised, danced, and sashayed their way around the hall.

AGAPI vice president Lito de la Roya reiterated the need for members to move about and take care of their health and welfare, while Emma Pontenila provided background information as to why St. Patrick’s Day is being celebrated in Australia.

Instead of the Irish tap dance, AGAPI dancers performed the energetic Chili Cha-cha and a playful Muslim number choreographed by Emma Pontenila and Faith Montecillo, respectively.

March celebrants, including Jesusa Agcaoili, Edna Onato, Estelita Quiaot, Lucy Quinon and Alvino Raonda, received hugs, kisses and well-wishes from their fellow members.

According to Wikipedia, St. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture on or around March 17 to honour St Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints who introduced Christianity in the fifth century.

Although he was not actually Irish, and his birthplace and birthdate are unknown, St Patrick, who is credited for converting Ireland to Catholicism, died on 17 March 461AD in Saul Downpatrick, Ireland.

Also the patron saint of Australia, Nigeria and Montserrat, much of what is known about St Patrick comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years.

It is customary on St Patrick’s Day to wear green clothing, shamrocks or an accessory, which is called the ‘wearing of the green’.

Referred to as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is covered in lush green grass and shamrocks.

St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaf plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

Revellers wear green apparently thinking it makes them “invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green)”.

Leprechauns are usually depicted as mischievous little bearded men wearing a coat and a hat. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

As of the 2011 census over 2 million residents identified themselves as having Irish ancestry, third behind English and Australian in terms of largest number of responses, and represents 10.4 per cent of the total population of Australia.

 (Text and photos by Evelyn A. Opilas)

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