Leprechauns, clovers, parades, food, beer, and even green fountains — these are just some of the things that come to mind when you think St. Patrick’s Day. But what’s the story behind the day we celebrate on the 17th of March every year? Who is Saint Patrick and what made the world celebrate this day?
Meet Saint Patrick
Although historians say it’s hard to determine when exactly Saint Patrick was born, it is believed he was born in the late 4th century A.D. in Scotland. He was brought to Ireland as a child after being captured by pirates, who sold him into slavery in Dalriada. During his enslavement, Saint Patrick was devoted to Christianity; becoming determined to escape slavery and free the Irish from Druidism by converting them to Christianity.
It would be six years before Patrick actually escaped slavery and reunited with his family in England. He later joined the priesthood and was eventually sent back to Ireland to spread the Christian Gospel. He promoted Christianity in Ireland by electing Church officials, creating councils, founding monasteries, and organizing Ireland into the dioceses. After 40 years of teaching the Gospel, Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D. in Saul, Ireland.
Now known as the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick is known for baptizing hundreds of people in a single day, then using that famous shamrock — the three leaf clover — as a way to describe the Holy Trinity: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
A Lasting Tradition
Since his death, the Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday by attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, here in America, the first-ever St. Patrick’s Day observation took place in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through the streets of New York City. The party of parades, food, and drinks would only grow from then, going global in 1995, after the Irish government began a campaign to market St. Patrick’s Day as a way of driving tourism and showcasing Ireland’s charm with the rest of the world.
To this day, March 17th is an international day of celebration. Every year millions of people around the world celebrate in numerous ways, whether it’s attending church, and feasting, or putting on their best green to attend parades, drink green beer, and celebrate the Irish culture.
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