Who Is St. Patrick and Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick s Day? By Every March 17th, thousands of people don their greenest garb, march in Irish pride parades, eat green clover-shaped cookies, and quaff frosty mugs of green beer in celebration of St. Patrick s Day. But do you really know who St. Patrick was and why he is celebrated? Patrick was born in AD 387 just south of Hadrian s Wall in Britain, which was part of the Roman Empire (that s right he wasn t Irish! ). He was captured by Irish pagans in his early teens and taken to Ireland, where he was enslaved for six years. During that time, he grew to like the spirit of the Irish. When he escaped and returned to his family, he vowed to one day return to Ireland. He studied at monasteries on the continent and was eventually ordained a priest and then a bishop. Pope Celestine I commissioned Patrick to be an apostle to Ireland. Patrick initially encountered many hardships among the pagans, particularly the druids. They weren t willing to give up their power over the old religion and feared Patrick and Christianity. Although the ruling monarch, King Laoghaire, didn t convert to Christianity, many of his family members did, and little by little, the old religion began to fade.
Patrick traveled from town to town, tearing down idols and temples and establishing the Catholic Church. By AD 444, the primatial see and first cathedral of Ireland were built in Armagh. He baptized, confirmed, and ordained priests, and he erected schools and monasteries. Thousands came into the Church under his direction. He accomplished all these activities in less than 30 years, during which time the whole island nation of Ireland was converted. Toward the end of his life, he wrote
Confessions, in which he gives a record of his life and mission. He died on March 17, 461, of natural causes. He is buried in Downpatrick in present-day Northern Ireland. Many stories are told in connection with St. Patrick. The three-leaf clover was said to be used by the saintly bishop to explain the Trinity to the pagans, which is why it is such a common St. Patrick s Day symbol today. Another legend has Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland; snakes were a popular symbol among the Irish pagans. He is certainly one of the most revered saints in the Catholic Church. Today, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, of many dioceses throughout the English-speaking world, and of engineers. He is also invoked against the fear of snakes and snakebites.
Irish Christians and Catholics celebrate St. Patrick Feast Day on the 17th of March, the traditional death date of the first ever patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Supposedly born in nearing the end of the fourth century, St. Patrick was captured and enslaved by pagans as a teenager and made to work as a shepherd in Ireland for six years. After escaping and returning to his family, he vowed he would one day return. Subsequently, he studied at monasteries in to become an ordained priest, then a bishop, and on his return to Ireland, he was commissioned as an apostle. He devoted his life establishing the Catholic Church in Ireland, and within 30 Pyears of baptising, confirming and ordaining priests, erecting schools and monasteries, old religions faded and the whole nation had been converted. Since his death believed to be in 461 AD the significance and stories of St. Patrick became ingrained in Irish culture, and celebrations have evolved throughout the centuries. A public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, and Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Patricks Day entitles many to a day off work, to worship and spend time with family. Lented traditions are lifted on the day, allowing feasts to consist of indulgent food and alcohol, and the colour green is worn symbolising Irish culture and the beginning of spring.
According to legend, the shamrock was utilised by St. Patrick to explain to the Irish the Holy Trinity, as each clover represented God as the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit; therefore, it becamePthe official flower of Ireland and a symbol adorned and used as decoration in celebrations today. In order to keep the tradition and heritage alive, the first recorded St. Patricks Day parade was held by Irish refugees in in 1737. This was followed by the copious amount of Irish soldiers present in in 1762, and celebrations in the US have been present ever since, due to the amount of immigrants. Now, those in Ireland and expats all over the world host and get involved with the tremendous celebrations; rivers in certain cities are temporarily dyed green, and over 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed over double of what is drank on a regular day! Parades, festivals, music, dancing, food, wearing green attire and drinking a lot of alcohol make St. Patricks Day the vibrant and exhilarating St. Patricks Day celebration it is today, accessible for everyone to enjoy.