It’s unclear as to what exactly the car of tomorrow is going to be like, but you can bet that every manufacturer out there has their own ideas as to what the car of the future should be, and deliver to the customer. However, one thing for certain is that race to deliver the car of future is on and Nissan is the latest automotive powerhouse to announce they’re revving up their investment in research and development.
The Renault-Nissan alliance is the fourth largest auto manufacture in the world, with sales of just under 5 million vehicles in 2012. Earlier this year Nissan made a bold statement to become a leader in this field by opening a research lab in Silicon Valley, which plays home to around 60 Nissan engineers. Nissan’s CEO feels this new research lab is going to play a large role in driving the company forward and helping deliver market innovations that will give Nissan the edge.
It’s an exciting time in the automotive world and Nissan’s future development is going be largely focused on the hybrid, electric and even a driverless Nissan range. The latest craze in the automotive world is the driverless car. Although not a new concept, the driverless car could be on our roads and commonplace by the end of the decade.
Nissan believe that the electric range is going to play an important role in the breakthrough of these technologies. The electric range will be capturing data from every single electric car, every time they are used. They will be using this data to help create the driver-less car.
However, the uptake in the Nissan electric range has been lower than expected and as of February this year only 50,000 Nissan Leafs had been sold. Many believe the reason for this is due to the charging infrastructure. Ghosn says” People who are interested in the electric range are hesitant largely because of the infrastructure”. With only 8,000 charging stations across the US (compared to the 130,000 conventional gas stations) there still seems a long way to go.
The world of automobiles will change drastically over the next decade and Nissan is working as hard as possible to make sure their vehicles are using the latest technologies and that they position themselves as a market leader. The world of electric cars, driver-less cars and technology within cars is something that Nissan is looking to bet the house on.
Author bio: Bradley Taylor is an automotive blogger, journalist and enthusiast. Bradley writes for many automotive companies on different topics including: Premium Cars Direct, BMW, Nissan, Audi and Ford. You can him on Google +
General Motors is entering the next-generation small van competition with a new version of a commercial vehicle made by Nissan, both companies announced Tuesday.
The Chevrolet City Express, as it will be called, will be a revised Nissan NV200 and will come to market in fall, 2014. Nissan has been trying to aggressively find new uses for its small NV200 van, including adapting it as the “taxi of tomorrow,” the mainstay of New York’s cab fleet.
In creating a Chevrolet version, Nissan solves a problem for GM. With the success of Ford’s small Transit Connect, the pressure has been on GM to find a match. By partnering with Nissan, GM cuts years of development time and expense.
GM officials know exactly what they want the van to accomplish.
“It’s designed to go head-to-head against Transit Connect — and win,” Ed Peper, GM’s fleet sales chief tells USA TODAY. “Speed (to market) was a very important asset we had to have here.”
The van will be for sale to individual customers as well as fleet buyers, the businesses that buy their vans in bunches for flower deliverers, plumbers and myriad other enterprises.
The small van segment is new to GM. Ford basically created the segment in the U.S. with its Transit Connect, which sort of a combination car and truck. Now, Peper says GM’s vehicle will stand out from the Nissan with an entirely new front-end design that looks distinctively like a Chevrolet and a five-year, 100,000-miles powertrain warranty.
The van, to be built at a Nissan plant in Mexico, is yet another example of how Nissan partners with other automakers to try to get enough production volume at its plants to make vehicles successful.
“Working with partners to expand markets for our innovative products enhances Nissan’s growth and manufacturing efficiency by leveraging our capacity to meet growing demand in this space,” says Joe Castelli, a Nissan vice president, in a statement.
Now it yet to be seen whether GM will try to enter the large, new-generation van market. It is dominated by Mercedes-Benz’ large Sprinter, and both Ford and Chrysler have their own large vans planned based on European designs.
With the unseasonably warm weather we are having this week in New Jersey, my mind got me thinking about Summer. Summer being my favorite season, and the fact it is my daughter’s name!
The summer months also bring in happy customers to Windsor Nissan who get unbelievable deals! The sun is shining, the beaches are crowded and the bodies are tanned, which can only mean one thing — Summer 2013 will arrive in the very near future!. To celebrate the return of our favorite season, we’ve scoured the Billboard chart archives and updated this definitive list of the most popular songs about summer ever recorded.
These 30 hot tunes with summer-specific themes are ranked based on each track’s performance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from August 4, 1958 — the inception of the chart — through the chart dated May 26, 2012. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. (For more details on how this chart was compiled, scroll to the bottom of this page.)
Do you agree these are the top rated Summer songs?
30 – Surfin’ Safari
The Beach Boys 1962
As is often the case, the Beach Boys pay homage to their favorite sport in their 1962 pop hit “Surfin’ Safari,” with lines about loading up their Woodie — that’s a ‘board-friendly station wagon for you gremmies — and inviting the world to the best beaches for waves. With a catchy beat and great harmonies, the song reaffirmed surf tunes’ appeal, residing on the Hot 100 for 17 weeks.
29 – Summertime
Billy Stewart 1966
Perhaps one of the most widely covered tunes, “Summertime” epitomizes the season’s lighthearted ethos. Billy Stewart’s 1966 crossover rendition, which is embellished with jazzy horns, bluesy guitar, and funky, scatting vocals, peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100.
Fat Boys and the Beach Boys 1987
The rap-n-surf-guitar track came complete with a skit-y video featuring the ultimate boys of summer, the Beach Boys and the Fat Boys, the ultimate ’80s hip-hop boys of dinner, throwing hula hoops and surfboards into the car for a sojourn to the beach. Not that anyone really needed to see either the Fat Boys in board shorts or the Beach Boys scrachin’ on the turntables. Wipeout, indeed.
27 – Cruel Summer
For summer days when you’re feeling down, Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is the companion who understands your discontent. The somewhat downbeat dance-pop track, which cozied up to the Hot 100 in 1983, bemoans the harsh heat of loneliness that can make any summer a drag.
26 – Summertime Blues
Eddie Cochran 1958
Eddie Cochran knows how much it sucked to be a teenager, even back in 1958. His slightly rebellious hit “raised a holler” about just how much of a bummer it is to have to work all summer instead of frolicking with your girl and your friends. The tune, appropriately featured in the 1980 film “Caddyshack,” may claim there’s no cure for the summertime blues, but we’d guess it sure beats sitting in school.
25 – A Summer Song
Chad & Jeremy 1964
Capturing the sweet sadness of saying farewell to summer love, Chad & Jeremy employ delicate, simple vocals over chugging drums and rich acoustic guitar plucks. In this tune, which entered the Hot 100 in 1964, the folk rock duo reminds the listener that there are always the memories to keep you warm in the fall.
24 – Suddenly Last Summer
The Motels 1983
For those with any nostalgia for the decade of Pac-Man and leg warmers, The Motels’ “Suddenly Last Summer,” which peaked on the Hot 100 in 1983, will satisfy any craving for ’80s summer music. Over a catchy drum beat and spacey guitar, the emotionally distraught Martha Davis explains in a hot, dusty voice that though the seasons change, that doesn’t mean the summer has to end.
23 – Surfer Girl
The Beach Boys 1963
The Beach Boys’ name alone should conjure images of summer, with the Cali group’s many carefree songs about surfing, cars, and girls. Peaking on the Hot 100 at No. 7 in 1963, “Surfer Girl,” a romantic ballad channeling the likes of ’50s doo wop, is no exception, with vocal harmonies that will make you yearn for a summer fling with whom to sway along.
22 – Summer Breeze
Seals & Crofts 1972
When it peaked on the Billboard charts in 1972, “Summer Breeze” focused on a sense of simplicity and clarity in a time of Vietnam war and big cultural shifts. With its soothing combination of soft guitar, banjo, vocal harmony and toy piano, as well as its reflective lyrics, Seals & Crofts’s first hit single is a crucial component of any mellow summer soundtrack.
21 – School’s Out
Alice Cooper 1972
With heavy eyeliner and a snarling, guitar-driven swagger, Alice Cooper took the sweet, innocent idea of the first day of summer break, and turned it into an emancipation proclamation for ditching class permanently. School, he growled, was not only out for summer, “School’s out forever!” The gritty tune peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 in 1972.
20 – Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer
Nat King Cole 1963
Nat King Cole’s rhyme happy 1963 hit is an oldie but goodie in the truest sense of the phrase. Well into the rock era, it peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100. Between the charm of Cole’s warm voice and the “soda and pretzels and beer” he sings about, it’s no wonder this tune is still familiar decades later.
19 – Summer Love
Justin Timberlake 2007
While many summer tunes are relaxed, breezy numbers, Justin Timberlake took his danceable 2007 “Summer Love” in a refreshingly poppy, electronic direction. Timberlake devotees and casual fans alike flocked to the song, giving it a No. 6 climax on the Hot 100.
18 – Saturday In The Park
With brassy horns blowing like a cool breeze off Lake Michigan, Chicago’s “real celebration” of a hot July day in the park took sights and sounds like people laughing and a man selling ice cream all the way to No. 3 on the Hot 100 in 1972. “Can you dig it?” they sing. Yes, we can.
17 – Summer Girls
The theme song to many a youthful turn of the millennium summer night, “Summer Girls” is the solid hit from the cheesy dreamboats of LFO. This 1999 lyrical masterpiece (“When I met you I said my name was Rich / You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch,” anyone?) spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 3.
16 – California Girls
The Beach Boys 1965
By the mid-’60s, the Beach Boys were the kings of surf music. In 1965, the west coast poster boys for the genre sent “California Girls,” a sunny paean to the merits of Cali ladies above all attractive women from anywhere else, all the way to No. 3 on the Hot 100.
15 – Summer
War’s 1976 soulful slow jam “Summer” earned its peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 with then up-to-the-minute lyrics about cruising around town “with all the window down / eight track playin’ all your favorite sounds.” Including bongos, apparently. Do they make bell-bottom shorts? The tune starts at 2:24 in the video.
14 – Under The Boardwalk
The Drifters 1964
In the summer of 1964, the Drifters saw their dreamy tune about catching some shade and some steamy good times literally under the boardwalk at the beach spent lots of quality time on the Hot 100. The tune has become a summer staple covered by many, including Bruce Willis and the Tempations.
13- Summer Of ’69
Bryan Adams 1985
A mid-’80s Bryan Adams, who had a clear penchant for leather and tight jeans, released “Summer of ’69” in 1985 and sent it to No. 5 on the Hot 100. This anthem of playing his “first real six-string” and meeting a summer sweetie at the drive-in is a classic, nostalgic ode to the summer of the “the best days of my life.”
12 – In The Summertime
Mungo Jerry 1970
The boys of Mungo Jerry handed the world the ultimate laid-back summer track when they released the vaguely tropical jam “In the Summertime” in 1970. The U.K. group’s only major U.S. hit, the tune also scored lots of chart love for Shaggy in the summer of 1995. His remake rose all the way to No. 3 on the Hot 100.
11 – The Boys Of Summer
Don Henley 1984
“I can tell you my love for you will still be strong / after the boys of summer have gone,” croons Don Henley as he patiently awaits the departure of his estranged love’s summer flings so he can regain his ex’s affection. The 1984 top five hit, which ironically hit the charts during the holiday season, also scored Henley the Grammy award for Best Male Rock Vocal performance.
10 – Summer Nights
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John 1978
Popular everywhere from bar mitzvahs to karaoke bars, “Summer Nights” is one of those great movie songs that appeal to everyone. Made famous by John Travolta and Olivia Newton Jones in the movie “Grease” in 1978, the legacy of Danny and Sandy’s summer fling lives on in the faux-’50s tune that warmed up to the top five at the height of the disco era.
9 – Hot Fun In The Summertime
Sly & The Family Stone 1969
With a mellow, funky horns and bassline and soulful vocals, Sly & the Family Stone’s easy-going hit entered the Hot 100 the same month the group played the most iconic summer festival of all time, Woodstock. In the tune, each member expresses a line about what they love most about summer, however they all agree, “That’s when I had most of my fun… those summer days.” Particularly the summer days when you manage to be part of music history.
8 – Surfin’ U.S.A.
The Beach Boys 1963
Namechecking every popular surfing spot, The Beach Boys certainly did their research for summer jam “Surfin’ U.S.A.” They sang they’d be gone all summer, and hey, if they didn’t make it back before school starts, “tell the teacher we’re surfing.” The song, a reworking of the tune from Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” reached the top five of the Hot 100 in 1963.
7 – Summertime
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince 1991
“This is the Fresh Prince’s new definition of summer madness,” rapped Will Smith before he was an international movie star back in 1991 when he was still the rapping cohort of DJ Jazzy Jeff and a newly-minted sitcom actor. Smith was giving props to their sample of Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness,” and that hook helped the duo earn a No. 4 peak on the Hot 100.
6 – Endless Summer Nights
Richard Marx 1988
“Endless Summer Nights” finds Richard Marx waxing hopeful about a summer fling he wants to develop into more, despite his girl’s resistance. This ballad must’ve done the trick, because he later married the woman he was on vacation with when he was inspired to write the song. “Endless Summer Nights” reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1988.
5 – Surf City
Jan & Dean 1963
“We’re goin’ to Surf City / ’cause its two to one” sing Jan and Dean of the girl-to-guy ratio that awaits them in some tasty beachside locale – that is, if their ’30 Ford Wagon doesn’t break down along the way. The surf rock track rode the airwaves to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1963.
4 – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini
Bryan Hyland 1960
Decades before Yoplait turned it into the soundtrack to a commercial about achieving your summer perfect beach body, in 1960 Bryan Hyland hit with this ode to one girl so shy about showing her daring two-piece swimsuit at the beach that she sat wrapped up in a blanket and then hid in the water until she turned blue.
3 – Wipe Out
The Surfaris 1962
Summer anthems are often defined by the sing-a-long factor. Aside from the manic laugh and shriek of the song’s title at the beginning, The Surfaris’ “Wipeout” is the exception to the rule, with almost 3 minutes of surf-guitar instrumental magic and one of the most memorable drum beats of all time.
2 – Summer In The City
The Lovin’ Spoonful 1966
“All around, people lookin’ half dead… But at night, it’s a different world,” sings John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful, contrasting a New York summer’s day with the vibrant nightlife of rooftops cats out looking for kitties he much prefers. “Summer in the City,” complete with honking cabs and jackhammers, scored the band a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 in 1966.
1 – California Gurls
Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg 2010
With an unabashedly synthy beat and breathy vocals about a “warm, wet and wild” place and the women you find there, how could Katy Perry’s perfectly timed hit — with a smooth assist from Snoop Dogg, not have been the top song of summer 2010? In fact the song was so huge, it leapt from No. 18 when we first published this chart in May 2010 to No. 1 just one year later, beating out over 50 years of other hot summer songs.
Text by Courtney Baldasare, Melanie Fried, Gabriella Landsman, and Jessica Letkemann
How This Chart Was Created
The ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Prior to the Hot 100’s implementation in 1991 of enhanced radio and sales information from Nielsen BDS and Nielsen SoundScan, songs had shorter reigns at No. 1 and shorter chart lives. To ensure equitable representation, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those decades and the turnover rates that have occurred since the advent of Nielsen Music data.
Which song is your favorite?
If you live near Windsor Nissan, where the summer months get hot, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration regarding your car, truck or SUV. It’s important to remember that hot weather can be tough on mechanical components. For example, your cooling system has to work harder to keep the engine from overheating, tires have to perform under hotter conditions, and if you have a breakdown, you should be prepared to subsist in hot weather until some form of assistance arrives, or you’re able to repair the vehicle yourself.
While there are many similarities between getting your vehicle ready for summer and getting it ready for winter, a couple of differences do exist. These are covered below in the following numerated subjects and corresponding photos. Let’s take a look.
1. Remove snow tires. While snow tires work great in the winter, they’re not much good in the summer months when there’s no snow on the ground. Plus, you’ll wear them out much faster by using them on dry pavement. It’s a good idea to have two sets of wheels: one mounted with snow tires and one with summer or all-season tires. You can even swap the wheels yourself since you won’t have to go to a tire shop to have one set of tires removed and another set remounted on one set of wheels, which could run $40 to $50 each time you do it.
2. Check the tire pressure. Tire pressure is important at all times. It’s critical to have properly inflated tires, as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road. Read your owner’s manual to find the correct tire pressures, and, if necessary, adjust pressures to compensate for the hotter operating conditions — especially if you’re doing lots of high-speed driving on a summer-vacation road trip. Properly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage.
Because of summertime’s higher temperatures, the air pressure in a warm tire rises. Why? Because air is a gas, and gas expands when it heats up. Keep this in mind if you are checking tire pressures. The given tire pressure specifications are for when the tires are cold, therefore the pressure should be checked when the tires are cold.
Also, an improperly inflated tire can heat excessively, potentially leading to a blow-out on the highway.
3. Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, maple syrup has a higher viscosity than water. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity, and many of them are also multi-viscous, which means the oil’s thickness can change depending on its temperature. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine might not get the proper lubrication.
To solve this summertime issue, you can change your vehicle’s engine oil to one that is a little thicker. Even when the thicker oil is cold, it is still not too thick for proper engine lubrication.
Determining what type of oil your car should have during the summer is easy. Simply read your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The manual will list the manufacturer’s oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local garage perform the oil change, you can ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle. Most modern cars have recommended oil grades of 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 which are all multi-viscous grades.
4. Inspect the belts and hoses. The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.
5. Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid. Visibility is always important and our experience tells us that summer storms can be quite severe in some parts of the country. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car’s blades are dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them.
Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A summertime thunderstorm isn’t the best time to run out of wiper fluid or to discover your blades aren’t performing properly.
6. Check the battery. A battery gives little warning before it goes dead. And it’ll likely do so when you least expect it. Hot weather can put additional strain on a battery similar to what is experienced in cold weather. If your vehicle battery is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion. If you’re embarking on a long trip, consider replacing the battery if you don’t know how old it is. These days, batteries are not very expensive, and it’s cheap insurance when you’re out on the open road. We also recommend that you always carry jumper cables, as mentioned below in the emergency kit section.
7. Check coolant/antifreeze mixture. The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised.
If you were to put pure water in your vehicle’s radiator, it would boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you combine the water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture boils at a much higher temperature.
You can check the composition of a radiator’s mixture by using an antifreeze tester. You can find these at all auto parts stores, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. If the mixture’s balance is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.
8. Carry an emergency kit inside your car. Things you might consider carrying include the following:
- A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit.
- Jumper cables.
- Extra clothes and gloves.
- Paper towels.
- Extra washer fluid.
- Food and water.
- Basic tools like wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers or Vise-Grips.
9. Things to Consider When Removing a Vehicle from Long-Term Storage
Those of you who live in an area of the country where the winters are tough might store a car on a long-term basis to protect it from the elements. If you do that, you’ll want to think about a few things before pulling the car out of the garage and hitting the road.
If you changed the oil before putting the car away, then you’ll be in good shape when it’s time to start it up after a long winter in storage. Before starting the car, though, check the oil level on the dipstick first. Recheck it once the car has been idling for a few minutes.
If you have relatively easy access to the spark plugs, consider removing them and pouring two to three small drops of oil in the cylinders to prelube the cylinder walls before startup. This isn’t absolutely critical (we know that plug access on some vehicles is very difficult) but would certainly be helpful in prolonging engine life.
In addition to engine oil, check all vital fluid levels. This includes the brake system’s master cylinder, the coolant level, the power-steering fluid and the transmission fluid if the vehicle has an automatic transmission.
Gasoline stabilizer poured into the tank before the long-storage is begun is also a good idea. If this was done, you’ll be in good shape during startup after the term ends. If getting the vehicle started is a problem and you didn’t use any stabilizer, you might need to drain the old fuel and pour in new gas. Replacing the fuel filter might also be a solution to any problems related to getting the vehicle started after long-term storage.
After parking the vehicle for storage, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery. It’s also a good idea to remove it from the vehicle, too, if you can. Obviously, if you disconnected the battery, you’ll need to reconnect it before starting.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll also want to check tire pressure before hitting the road after long-term storage.
Finally, before moving the vehicle at all, thoroughly check underneath it to determine if there are any leaks that might need attention. Tending to this and the other basic concerns noted above will ensure that you’ll be set to go after your car has been stored for a long period of time.
And as always, Windsor Nissan’s service department is always available to answer any questions you have regarding your vehicle.
First, you need to decide what type of car will fit your needs and your budget. With so many choices available in the car market, setting a budget first helps you narrow down your search based on what you can afford.
- SAFETY: Many tests are done on car safety before any vehicles hit the roads. The National Highway Traffic safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are just two places you can check a car’s safety rating and features. You can also find out from NHTSA if a vehicle has been recalled for safety defects.
- TITLE: If you’re buying from an individual seller, it is important to check on the title to make sure you are working with the actual vehicle owner. You can check on the title with your local Better Business Bureau. If you are buying from a dealer, you can check their credibility with your local consumer affairs office.
- LEASING: If you are considering leasing a car, make sure you ask the dealer for all of the financial information up front, including details on wear and tear standards, if there is a limit on how many more miles you can drive a year, the manufacturers warranty and more.
- FINANCING: Whether you’re leasing or buying a car, most people have to do some type of financing when purchasing a vehicle. Two common types are direct lending or dealership financing. It’s important to do your research so you know which types of financing is right for you. The Federal Trade Commission explains your options and defines financing lingo so you can be prepared.
Windsor Nissan offers special vehicle pricing with their VPP Pricing. What does this mean to you? If your company is affliated with Nissan, you are entitled to additional savings. This offer is also available to Active and Reserve US Military.
Here are some details of the Vehicle Purchase Program:
Benefits of VPP
•The VPP program enables Nissan employee family members, friends and select business associates/suppliers to purchase new Nissan or Infiniti vehicles at a pre-negotiated below invoice pricing.
•The VPP program provides a “No-Haggle” purchase experience.
•All Rebates, NMAC lease specials, and APRs are still applicable.
•Nissan has one of the most competitive VPP programs in the entire auto industry.
Interested to see if your company is included? Click Here for the Complete List!
For the first time, Windsor Nissan is offering St. Patricks Day Holiday Bonus Cash. You can save up to an additional $1250, in additional to all other rebates on your new Nissan. This is your lucky sale being offered only for a limited time. Regardless of your heritage, you’re probably very aware of St. Patrick’s Day — the traditional Irish holiday celebrated each year on March 17. And maybe you observe this festive day by sporting your best bright green shirt and meeting up with friends at your favorite local Irish pub. But — believe it or not — there’s a lot more to St. Patrick’s Day than simply wearing green and knocking back a pint of Guinness.
For instance, who was Saint Patrick? Is it true that he was taken prisoner by Irish raiders? Why do we devote an entire day to him? And how do shamrocks and the Blarney stone fit into this holiday’s history?
As the luck of the Irish would have it, we’ve got the answers to these questions as well as lots more information about this historic holiday.
Who is Saint Patrick?
Important historical figures are frequently shadowed by the myths and legends attributed to them over the course of centuries, and St. Patrick is no exception. He is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, St. Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”
Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been — the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.
There are several accounts of St. Patrick’s death. One says that St. Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York City, USA, Dublin, Ireland, and Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Origins of St. Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. The Irish are descendants of the ancient Celts, but the Vikings, Normans and English contributed to the ethnic nature of the people. Centuries of English rule largely eliminated the use of the ancient Gaelic, or Irish, language. Most Irish are either Catholics or Protestants (Anglicans, members of the Church of England).
So, why is it celebrated on March 17? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17 is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.
In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!
The Shamrock and the Blarney Stone
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a shamrock is “any of several similar-appearing trifoliate plants (plants whose leaves are divided into three leaflets). Common shamrocks include the wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) of the family Oxalidaceae, or any of various plants of the pea family (Fabaceae), including white clover (Trifolium repens) and suckling clover Trifolium dubium.” According to Irish legend, St. Patrick chose the shamrock as a symbol of the church’s Holy Trinity because of its three leaflets bound by a common stalk. Wood sorrel is shipped in large quantities from Ireland to other countries for St. Patrick’s Day.
The Legend of the Blarney Stone
There is a stone there, That whoever kisses, Oh, he never misses To grow eloquent. ‘Tis he may clamber To a lady’s chamber, Or become a member Of Parliament.
Just northwest of the Irish village of Cork is the village of Blarney. The name Blarney is derived from the Irish An blarna, “the plain.” Blarney is home to the 90-foot-tall (27.4-meter) Blarney Castle. The castle visited today is the third one built at the site and was erected in 1446.
Built on a rock, above several caves, the tower originally had three stories. On the top story, just below the battlements on the parapet, is the world famous Blarney Stone. While its origins are unknown, the Blarney Stone is said to give the gift of eloquence (beautiful speaking ability) to all who kiss it. Today, “Blarney” means “the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech without offending.”
Kissing the stone is quite a physical feat. You have to sit with your back to the stone, and a local guide or friend sits on your legs or firmly holds your feet. Then you lean back and down into the darkness between the castle’s 18-foot-thick (5.5-meter) walls and, grasping the iron rails, lower yourself until your head is even with the stone.
One local legend claims that an old woman, saved from drowning by a king of Munster, rewarded him with a spell that if he would kiss a stone on the castle’s top, he would gain a speech that would win all to him. It is not known, however, when and how the word Blarney entered the English language and the dictionary.
Our Pet contest on Facebook is going on now. Customers were asked to submit photos over the last few weeks to be entered to win a $100 PetSmart Giftcard. We have been receiving images everyday! This past monday, all the photos were placed in an album for customers to vote! The pet with the most “LIKES” will win the gift card. Voting is going on now, until Thursday 2/28/13. The winning pet will be notified by email on Friday! So hurry to our Facebook page to vote for your favorite pet, or possibly all of them. They need YOUR vote!
You hear a “clunk” and a “tink” and then you think: oh no, my car needs a new engine. While we all want to try and find out what’s wrong with our vehicles, we should remember that self-diagnosing might not always be the best plan.
The best way to tell a small problem that you can fix from a larger problem is whether or not you have had to deal with it before or if it’s a routine fix. For example, windshield wipers are going to need to be replaced every so often, so don’t be afraid to make the switch. Bulbs are going to burn out, so consult your owners manual and make the fix. However, there are many cases when you should get an expert eye.
For example, if this is a new problem that you have never experienced before, that’s a good indicator that you need to bring in an expert.
There are three main reasons for this. First, you may end up misdiagnosing your vehicle and spending precious time, resources and money on attempting to fix a problem that doesn’t actually exist or not getting to the core of the problem. Second, many times manufacturers are sending new information about all their vehicles to Windsor Nissan and a problem that you’re having could be similar to a problem that other owners have also had. In these cases, the experts truly know best because they’ve seen the problem and had the opportunity to fix it multiple times. Lastly, if you’re not a mechanic, you may end up actually harming your vehicle and doing more bad than good.
If your vehicle is behaving unusually or you’re concerned about something, please visit Windsor Nissan to get a proper diagnosis and get back on the road again. Remember, it could save you money in the long run.