The History of St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day (also St. Paddie's Day or incorrectly spelled as St. Pattie's Day) is named after Saint Patrick (387-461), the most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland.
St. Patrick's Day began as a Catholic holiday and feast in the early 17th century, but has since gradually became a secular tradition which celebrates Irish culture.
The holiday is always on 17 of March except when it falls on a Sunday, then it is held the day before.
Who was Saint Patrick?
Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century to a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons. At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive as a slave in Ireland. According to his Confession, God told him to flee claptivity and board a ship along the coast to return him to Britain. Soon after, he joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and became a priest.
In 423 Saint Patrick was called back to Ireland as a bishop and began to Christianize the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore says his teaching methods included using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. After thirty years of evangelism, he died on March 17, 461 and according to tradition buried at Downpatrick. What he endured allowed him to become a principal champion of Irish Christinianity.
How St. Patrick's Day is celebrated?
- Attending mass: Since St. Patrick's Day is actually a Catholic holiday, it is a tradition for the day to be celebrated by attending mass.
- Attending ceilithe: an Irish dance festival
- Wearing shamrocks: shows support for the Holy Trinity and Saint Patrick
- Wearing Green
'Wearing green' originally meant wearing a shamrock. However, the original color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years, green became the acceptable color. In the United States, those who do not wear green are pinched.
- Drinking Irish beer and whiskey: sometimes the beer and whiskey is green, sometimes not. It's almost always Irish but when it's not, it doesn't matter--it is alcohol. The alcohol displays support for Irish heritage, or at least that's what we tell ourselves.