Ok, so the patron saint of Ireland “Saint Patrick” died on March 17, 461. But did you know that he wasn’t even Irish?
Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was born in Roman Britain. Then, when he was 16 he was kidnapped by Irish Raiders and brought to Ireland where he remained in captivity for 6 years until he escaped. After that, he converted to Christianity and moved back to Ireland in 432 as a Christian missionary.
Patrick died on March 17, 461 and he was all but forgotten until centuries later when legends brought him back to life and he was labelled as the “Patron Saint of Ireland.”
One myth says that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. Which was just a nice way of saying he cleansed Ireland of Paganism.
Celebrations in Ireland weren’t that big of a deal. It wasn’t until Irish settlers moved to the United States that they made the bigger celebrations and parades that we know today. It was a way for the settlers to reconnect with their Irish roots.
The shamrock: According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three leaf clover (or shamrock) to explain the Trinity.
Corned beef and cabbage: This is an Irish American dish. Irish Americans were so poor they could not afford certain meals. On St. Patrick’s Day, the best meal they could afford was beef and cabbage. It became a staple for the holiday.
But why Green on St. Patrick’s Day?
Actually, the color that was most associated with Saint Patrick himself was the color blue. The reason green become so popular was because of two factors:
1) the beautiful green landscape of the Emerald Isles (can’t deny the beautiful landscape in Ireland)
2) because Saint Patrick would use the three leaf clover (Shamrock) to explain the Holy Trinity (Christian Holy Symbol).
Because of this people would traditionally wear a shamrock on the lapel of their jacket to represent their Irish-Christian Pride and eventually that transformed into wearing green clothes. Over the years green has become more and more the color that represents Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.
The Bottom line
So, no matter where you are across the globe while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, know that what began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland and has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods, so much green, and a whole lot of booze!