First off, we wish everyone a Happy and Safe St. Patrick’s Day! For many, this Irish holiday is a proud celebration of parades, good Irish food and drink, and parties. However, do you know the true history of St. Patty’s Day? If not, keep reading to learn more!
Saint Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s day is celebrated each year on the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death, March, 17th. Saint Patrick lived in the 5th century, and the Irish have celebrated his death as a religious holiday ever since. Since the holiday falls during Christain Lent, most Irish families would go to church in the morning and celebrate afterward. As the traditional feast for Saint Patrick’s day is Irish bacon and cabbage, the rules of Lent are forgiven on this day, allowing celebrators to eat, drink, and be merry.
Who is Saint Patrick?
As mentioned, Saint Patrick lived during the 5th century. He is known as the national apostle and patron Saint of Ireland. Patrick was born and raised in Roman England. However, at the age of 14, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. He did escape his slavery, but he never forgot the Irish people and wanted to enrich their lives with faith. Therefore, Patrick returned, and is now credited with introducing Christianity to the Irish people. He died on March, 17, 461, as it is believed to be the date. After his death, he was granted Sainthood by the Irish people and the day of his death became known as Saint Patrick’s Day.
For the Irish, one of the most well-known stories of Saint Patrick is that he explained the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit─The Holy Trinity─by using the three leaves of the Irish Clover, also called a Shamrock.
The Leprechaun, Luck, and His Pot of Gold
The leprechaun of Saint Patrick’s day is actually an Irish Fairy. However, he is not a fairy as you might be imagining! He resembles an old man with a long beard, wearing a green coat. And, he carries a long stick called a “shillelagh” which he uses to protect his pot of gold. The leprechaun represents “luck” because he always finds that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow first!
Irish Day Parades
Interestingly, the Irish people celebrated with feasts, but not with a parade. In fact, the first Saint Patrick’s Day parades originated in the United States. The first St. Patrick’s day parade happened on March 17, 1762, when the Irish soldiers serving in the English Military gathered, played Irish music, and marched down the streets of New York City.
Over the next 35 years, as more Irish immigrants moved to America, groups, such as the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society, formed to help aid the immigrants. To keep the Irish patriotism going, these groups would organize annual parades on Saint Patrick’s Day, and today, the tradition continues.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!