History of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Life

St. Patrick was, surprisingly, born in Roman Britain. He was kidnapped at a young age by Irish raiders and held in captivity. He eventually escaped or was released, and he converted to Catholic Christianity. Then he spent the rest of his life serving as a missionary in Ireland.  St. Patrick is celebrated annually on March 17th, which according to the History Channel, is the day St. Patrick died in 461. After he died, word of mouth spread legends of his life. In 1631 (TIME.com), he was dubbed as the patron saint of Ireland, and his life began to be celebrated year to year.

Fun fact #1:

St. Patrick used the shamrock while telling people about Christianity in order to explain the holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. People began to wear the shamrocks to signify their Irish Christianity, which later evolved into everyone wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day. This is something many people still participate in today! Shamrocks don’t exist, but we know them to be represented by many common three-leafed plants. Tenon Tour‘s explains it like this: “The word shamrock comes from the Gaelic word Seamrog, meaning ‘little clover’.  A clover is the commonly used name for any number of plants belonging to the genus Trifolium, meaning ‘having three leaves’.  Even among botanists, there is some disagreement on what species is the true ‘shamrock’, but most agree that the White Clover is probably the original shamrock of Irish symbolic heritage.”

Fun fact #2:

St. Patrick’s Day parades began in America. According to the NYC St. Patrick’s Day website, “The first NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade was comprised of a band of homesick, Irish ex-patriots and Irish military members serving with the British Army stationed in the colonies in New York. This was a time when the wearing of green was a sign of Irish pride but was banned in Ireland. In that 1762 parade, participants reveled in the freedom to speak Irish, wear green, sing Irish songs and play the pipes to Irish tunes that were meaningful to the Irish immigrants of that time.”  Today, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is the largest one in the United States!

Most information from this article was gathered from the History Channel or Time Magazine.

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