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. St. Patrick s Day: Why Do Americans Celebrate It? In the U. S. , many Americans celebrate St. Patrick s Day. PWhy? People in the U. S. immigrate from many countries. PThey bring their holidays with them. PIndian-Americans often celebrate Diwali, Muslim-Americans often celebrate Eid. St. Patrick s Day originated as an Irish Celebration of an early (someone who tries to his/her religion, in this case, Christianity). PThe myth that he drove the snakes out of Ireland referred to his conversion of the (non-Christians) to Christianity.
PThe (or ) became associated with him because he used it to teach the, the Christian idea that God was three-in-one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Over time, the holiday moved away from its religious roots and became associated with Irish pride. PIreland is a very green country, so people started wearing green on St. Patrick s Day. P(In many schools, a child not wearing green on St. Patrick s day will be by his friends. ) PThe four-leaf-clover replaced the three-leafed-clover and became a symbol of luck rather than the trinity. PThere are often in cities with big Irish populations. If you are ever in the U. S. on St. Patrick s Day, look for a parade and go to a to try some green beer. PAlso, don t forget to wear green so you can avoid getting pinched! Erin Go Bragh!! (This comes from an Irish language phrase, yirinn go Brch, whichPexpresses loyaltyPto Ireland. ) If you want to read more, here is a site with more information: P Why Do We Celebrate St. Patricks Day? Fun St. Patricks Day Facts