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A Short History of St. Patricks Day — Why Do We Celebrate It Anyway?

St. Patrick's Day

If you’re like many, you just go through the holidays on autopilot and stick with our culture’s classic ways in which to celebrate them. Take for example St. Patrick’s Day.

On every March 17th, we wear green to avoid being pinched, we throw on a shamrock and we drink a bunch of beer. But why? What is St. Patrick’s Day all about?  Here is a short history of St. Patrick’s Day so you and your kid’s will know why we celebrate it in the first place.

First off, we should all be reminded, because it’s been lost over the years,  that St. Patrick’s Day is actually  a Christian holiday. St. Paddy’s day was created to honor the most recognized patron saint of Ireland, the one and only Saint Patrick.  St. Patrick’s Day has been around for quite a while,  becoming an “official feast day” why back in the 17th century.   But in modern day, it has become not just a day to honor St. Patrick but a day to honor Irish culture.

Who was Saint Patrick? Turns out he actually wasn’t even Irish. He was born way back in the 4th century and was born to a wealthy Roman-British family. But at the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish criminals and taken to Ireland to work as a slave. He had a dream, where apparently God told him to escape. He did. Patrick returned to Britain, found his calling and became a priest.

In 432 he was asked to come back to Ireland as an evangelist to save the Irish and teach them about Christianity until his death on March 17th, 461.

And how about the shamrock and the whole green thing?

The Clover: Saint Patrick would use the clover to explain the Holy Trinity. It became a symbol of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Why all the Green: It turns out the color that had been associated with Saint Patrick was actually blue. But around the 17th century it somehow transformed into a green hue, probably aided by the importance of the green clover in his teachings.

So is St. Patrick’s Day all about beer, funny hats and Kiss Me I’m Irish hats? Not so much.

Image: Flickr Sweetnsuch

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