We celebrate St Patrick’s Day every March with parades, partying and an abundance of green decorations all over the world!
Who was St Patrick?
March 17th marks the death of St Patrick, who was the Patron Saint of Ireland. St Patrick is thought to have been born with the name Maewyn Succat in the late 4th Century Britannia. However, he used the name ‘Patricius’ in his writings.
Neither Irish nor initially a devout Christian, Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland to become a slave. It is said that a voice came to him in his sleep, encouraging him to escape. He did so and subsequently reunited with his family at which point he decided to train to become a priest. He spent the remainder of his life as a missionary in Ireland.
St Patrick is attributed with using the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. He is also credited with banishing snakes from Ireland (although there is no actual evidence of their existence on the island!)
Why is St Patrick’s Day celebrated all over the world?
St Patrick’s Day was only a minor holiday in Ireland until the 1970s. But, in America, where there is a large community of Irish immigrants, it has been celebrated since before the Revolutionary War when the first St Patrick’s Day parade was held in 1762 by Irish members of the Colonial army.
Today, the holiday has evolved to become a secular celebration of Irish culture.
p.s. ever wondered why most things Irish are green? It is partly due to Ireland’s verdant landscape. However, the colour green’s roots are in Ireland’s political history. (Fun Fact: Royal Blue used to be the national colour of Ireland!)