St. Patrick’s Day

According to his own written words, Saint Patrick was born in Britain in the 4th Century to a wealthy family who were leaders in the Christian church. When he was 16, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. He underwent a religious experience while he was in Ireland in which God told him to flee to a ship waiting to take him home.

Saint Patrick later returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. This led to him becoming the patron saint of Ireland.

In the 17th Century, the date of his death (March 17) became an official religious holiday celebrated by Catholic and some Protestant religions. Saint Patrick’s Day is now celebrated in more countries than any other day. Interestingly the day was initially more celebrated in other countries by Irish immigrants than it was in Ireland itself.

Saint Patrick’s Day has a number of traditions that began early in its history and continue to this day. The shamrock with its three leaves was supposedly used by Saint Patrick to explain the Christian concept of father, son, and holy spirit.

The “wearing of the green” comes from a legend whereby Moses saved a man bitten by a poisonous snake using his staff. A green scar was left on the man. His descendants would later settle in Ireland because it had no snakes. Over time, there have been other connections to the color green ranging from the greenery of the land, a green flag, poetry, and even mailboxes.

With its religious beginning, Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol were lifted on March 17. This has subsequently led March 17th to become a day of drunkenness, far removed from its religious beginning.

As with many days we celebrate, Saint Patrick’s Day has become more of a day of commercial influence than of its original intent. In fact, how many people know who Saint Patrick was or why we celebrate him?

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“May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick hold you.” – Irish Saying

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