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Who Is St. Patrick and Why Do We Celebrate Him?


Every year on March 17th, people throughout the US and other countries celebrate a man called St. Patrick. That is the date St. Patrick said to have died in 461 AD. There are things about the man and the holiday people don't know about. First off, St. Patrick is not a canonized saint by the Catholic Church. Then there is the fact that Patrick was not even born in Ireland, he was born in a section of Britain that was once called Roman Britain. He wasn't even a christian. Oh, also, he is said to have run all the snakes out of Ireland. There were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with.

St. Patrick was born with the name Maewyn Succa. Apparently he didn't like that name, so he changed it to Patricious. Eventually he became known as Patrick. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates. He finally escaped, only to be captured by the French. While in France he started learning about monasticism, which is a way of life in which one renounces worldly possessions to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Once Patrick was released and sent back to Britain, he continued his studies in Christianity. He claimed he had a vision to bring Christianity to the people of Ireland. His beliefs were not accepted so he ended up on small islands off the Irish coast. He eventually went back to the mainland where is said to have baptized thousands of people.

So, where does the 3 leaf clover, (shamrock) come into this picture. It is said that St. Patrick used the three clover leaves of the shamrock in his teachings of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And the color green, where did that come from? It had nothing to do with the lush, green hills. In fact, it goes back to the Irish rebellion when the Irish soldiers wore green as they fought the British who were wearing their traditional red uniforms. Before then, the color everyone associated with St. Patrick was blue. Since the war in 1798, the color was changed to the color of the shamrock, green.

During the middle of the 19th century, there was a mass influx of Irish immigrants to the United States in hopes escaping the great potato famine. The first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in New York City in 1672. It was the Irish soldiers who marched and played their music to help them reconnect with their Irish roots.

Today, St. Patrick's Day is thought to be celebrated in more countries around the world than any other national holiday. Countries celebrating are not only Ireland, and the United States, but also including other countries such as, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Argentina, New Zealand, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and even throughout Asia.

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