Saint Patrick was a Christian missionary from the fifth century who also served as a Bishop in Ireland. He is the prime patron saint of Ireland, also being known as the “Apostle of Ireland”
St. Patrick’s Day, also known as St. Patty’s Day, is celebrated annually in Ireland on March 17th while those who honor it observe it from all around the world. March 17 is believed to be the day when St. Patrick passed away, and the celebrations started as feast days in honor of him from 461CE, he who introduced Christianity to Ireland back in the fifth century.
Not only that, but he is credited with building several churches, monasteries, and schools. It is because of such acts of seeming wisdom that several legends revolve around him as well – for example, he was the one who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and that he drove the snakes out of Ireland. Thus, every year on this day, the whole of Ireland comes together to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts.
On this day, almost all of Ireland dresses together in Green. This may partially be associated with the fact that green is the color of Ireland. However, the green became prevalent after St. Patrick used the aforementioned shamrock to explain the holy trinity to the Irish.
Transition into something special
Initially, this day was celebrated just as a holiday. But now, it has evolved into a day of celebration for Irish culture with music, dancing, drinking, special foods, parades, and overall, just a whole lot of green.
This transformation of a holiday into a celebration can be attributed to the emigrants from Ireland, particularly to the United States. They help make St. Patrick’s Day a holiday of partying and celebration of all things Irish!
This can be proved by the fact that there are more than 40 million people of Irish descent in the United States. The entire population of Ireland is not even half that! This makes Irish Americans one of the largest ethnic groups present in the country. Even some of the notable people in government previously, like Presidents John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama were of Irish descent.
St. Patrick’s Experiences
Perhaps one of the most significant events of St. Patrick’s Life is his kidnapping when he was aged 16 by a group of Irish pirates. He was enslaved and held captive by them for over 6 years. According to St. Patrick, the time spent by him in his captivity was pivotal to his spiritual development as he worked as a shepherd and strengthened his relationship with God.
According to historians, the first parade of St. Patrick’s Day in the US was held in Boston in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762.
Later, from 1962 onwards, Chicago colored its river green as a sign of their respect and observance of the holiday.
Instant pot corned beef and cabbage are associated with this holiday (though surprisingly corned beef is not native to the Irish), and almost everywhere beer is also dyed green in celebration of the day.
Irish and non-Irish people together wear items of green in clothing, or simply put a shamrock (the Irish national plant) in the lapel.
Although not all of these practices date back to the Irish people, they adopted most of these themselves, largely to gain benefits from the Tourists these celebrations attracted.
Whatever the reasons may be, we think it’s safe to conclude that Saint Patrick’s Day will always remain a holiday of much joy and happiness for all!