St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17 in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. Why?
This holiday is celebrated and symbolized around the world with shamrocks, pints of beer (often dyed green), and green parades. But contemporary St. Patrick’s Day celebrations often hide the mysteries and meaning behind the figure.
But who is really Saint Patrick? And how do people celebrate it around the world?
Here is everything you need to know:
Who is Saint Patrick?
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Not much is known about his life, but we do know that he was born in Britain (so he was English, Scottish, or Welsh).
At the age of 16 he was captured by pirates, and was taken as a slave to Ireland, where he was held captive for 6 years. There, he worked as a pastor; and it was then that he became a devout Christian.
It is believed that he escaped and sailed to Britain to become a priest, taking serious religious training. After 15 years of study, he was ordained a priest and sent to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. Within 3 decades, he established churches, schools, and monasteries, and as he was familiar with the Irish language and culture, he chose to incorporate Irish ritual and symbols into his teachings. This is the way the Celtic cross was born. He also used the shamrock as a symbol to explain the concept of the trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
How is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated?
Believe it or not, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York on March 17, 1762, in the hands of Irish soldiers serving the British Army.
Over time, these holidays have moved away from their religious roots and have become associated with Irish pride.
Ireland is a very green country, so people started wearing green and shamrocks on Saint Patrick’s Day. Corned beef and cabbage are associated with the holidays, and even beer is sometimes dyed green to celebrate the day.
If you’re ever in the US on St. Patrick’s Day, look for a parade and go to a pub for some green beer. Also, don’t forget to wear green!
*Comes from a phrase in the Irish language (Éirinn go Brách) that expresses loyalty to Ireland.