St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday where the country erupts in green: green clothing, green alcoholic beverages, green decorations, even green rivers in some cities. As I was donning my green Paxton Group tank (*shameless plug*), I was thinking about the day and what it really means. Like who is Saint Patrick? I know almost nothing about him. Was he even Irish?
First of all, no, Saint Patrick was not Irish. He was born in England, Scotland or Wales. He is, however, the patron saint of Ireland. While he was not the very first person to bring Christianity to Ireland, he is the most famous. According to Patrick, an angel appeared him and told him to travel to Ireland as a missionary. As a preacher, Patrick was very clever. Instead of attempting to convert the Irish by presenting “classic” Christianity, he incorporated traditional Irish paganism into his teachings. One of the best examples of Patrick’s ingenuity was his explanation of the Holy Trinity using the shamrock.
Why do we celebrate on this particular day? While it has never been verified, St. Patrick supposedly died on March 17, 461. For over 1,500 years, St. Patrick’s day has been celebrated on this date, first as a morose religious holiday and now, as a greentastic drinkfest. So who started it? The parades and the parties? Point right at us! The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1762 in New York City. Many countries celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but North America typically has the largest celebrations. Ironically enough, until the 1970s, Ireland’s pubs remained closed for the holiday. In recent years, Ireland finally realized how much their tourism industry could benefit from marketing the holiday. And the modern day celebration was born.
Wow! I know I had several misconceptions about St. Patrick’s Day that were dispelled with just a little bit of research. I hope you learned a little something too. Get out there in your green tutus, drink your green beer and eat your corned beef and cabbage (or, as in Ireland, your bacon and cabbage)!
For more information about St. Patrick’s day, click here.