Today is March 17th, which means that today is St. Patrick’s Day!
What began as a religious day of the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, beer, dancing, beer, food and beer. Did I already mention beer?
But who is St. Patrick and why is he so important?
There are different stories about who St. Patrick is, but what we know for sure is that he brought Christianity to Ireland.
Some versions of the story say that he was born in Wales around 385AD and his parents were Roman citizens. When he was 14, he was taken to Ireland where he spent 6 years in slavery and then he became a missionary among the Celtic pagans.
You may already know that green is the representative colour of St. Patrick’s Day, and the shamrock is the symbol. Do you know why green is the associated colour? Well, blue was actually the original colour but people realised that the flag had green, the shamrock was green and the island was known as ‘The Emerald Isle’, so they decided to make green the official colour. As for the shamrock, this was used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans.
Another question for you! Have you noticed that St. Patrick is always (or most of the time) surrounded by snakes? He was most known for driving the snakes from Ireland – maybe this wasn’t literally! Snakes represented worship and it meant, probably, the end of the pagan practice.
It is said that he died in Downpatrick on March 17, 460AD but another version of the story states that he was buried in England.
So, St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday for spiritual renewal in Ireland and it is also a big deal in some other countries, especially in the American continent. Many people, including those without any Irish heritage, celebrate this day with music, parades, dance, food, green everything (clothes, accessories, etc.), Guinness, and green beer. Some countries like to dye the river or streams green, like Chicago.
Some people don’t even know who St. Patrick is, but they celebrate it just because of the way it is celebrated! Maybe it is another excuse to drink beer.
Anyhow, it’s always good to celebrate international holidays as long as you know the reason!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who believe in it or to those who just like to celebrate it !