When you think of St. Patty’s, what comes to mind? Comment below. I think of: green! Walk down any aisle, at any store, and you will see no shortage of green decorations! There are green shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold, you can get it on t-shirts, mugs, and even top hats. Some people celebrate by drinking green beer. We made green eggs and ham for the kids for dinner one year!
While these and other celebrations, decorations and activities are fun – they don’t really denote the man – St. Patrick. This celebration, like many others, has become very commercialized in our modern society.
Where did it all begin?
St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. The interesting thing is, drum roll please, he’s not Irish. I was shocked to learn that he was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century. Shockingly, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave! The amazing thing is he later returned to Ireland to bring Christianity to the Irish people.
What did he do?
He brought Christianity to the pagan people in Ireland and established many churches, schools and monasteries. He made such an impact on the Irish people, that after his death on March 17, they instituted a holiday to celebrate him.
Who celebrates & how?
The feast is observed by various people all over the world, mainly people of Irish descent, the Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox and the Lutheran Church as a religious remembrance. Religious people celebrate by attending a mass or service. Other people celebrate by attending (when it’s not Covid) a parade and Ceilidh – traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering, usually involves dancing and playing Gaelic folk music.
Random interesting facts:
- The Lenten restriction on eating and drinking alcohol was lifted for the day, which ha encouraged drinking green beer and alcohol on this day
- St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national holiday
- The use of the Irish language is encouraged, especially in Ireland, where the week of St. Patrick’s Day is “Irish language week”
- In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and they had many deities with the number three. One tradition explains, St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Irish people about the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish national holiday with banks, stores, and businesses closing for the day
- The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was held in Boston (1737)
- The color of St. Patrick’s Day was originally blue. It appears that the shift to green happened because of Ireland’s nickname “The Emerald Isle,” the green in the Irish flag and the shamrock, or clover. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn as early as the 17th century
After reading this post on the origins of St. Patrick’s Day, did you learn anything new? How do you usually celebrate? How will you celebrate this year because of Covid? Write your answers in the comments below.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Thanks for reading!
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