The Origin of Saint Patrick’s Day

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The Origin of Saint Patrick’s Day

Audrey Thompson, Fun Stuff writer

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Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up really soon (March 17th). While the holiday is not the most popular holiday, especially where we live, it’s origin is still very interesting.

Let’s start off with the name Saint Patrick. Who was he? He is the beloved patron saint of Ireland. The Irish are known for telling very exaggerated stories, Though, so we actually know very few things about Saint Patrick’s life. We do know that he was born in Britain. We also know he was 16 years old when he was captured by Irish raiders who attacked his family’s property. Saint Patrick was then transported to Ireland where he was a prisoner for six years living alone as a shepherd. During this time he became a very religious Christian. A voice which he thought was God, spoke to him in a dream and told him to leave Ireland, so he did. Saint Patrick walked almost 200 miles and escaped to Britain to do religious training. He studied for 15 years, became a priest, and was sent to Ireland. His mission was to convert the Irish to Christians. Saint Patrick knew the Irish language and culture from when he was imprisoned there so he chose to put the Irish rituals and symbols into his teachings instead of getting rid of Irish beliefs. This belief made the Celtic cross.

Irish families were the first to celebrate this holiday. They have traditionally celebrated the feast of Saint Patrick as a religious holiday for thousands of years. It is a great pause during the Christian season of Lent when laws were lifted for a day of dancing, drinking, and feasting on meat.

The history of St Patrick’s Day in the United States is different. It began with Irish soldiers serving in the British army. The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade in New York City helped the homesick Irish soldiers connect with their roots through familiar, traditional Irish music. It also helped them to connect with one another, finding strength in numbers. Many years later, millions of Irish immigrants fled to America because of the Great Potato Famine. Saint Patrick’s Day parades then became a display of solidarity and political strength since Irish immigrants were victims of prejudice very often.    

The origin of Saint Patrick’s day is unusual but it is still a fun holiday and a time to wear green and go to parades. Today, Saint Patrick’s day is not as religious and more of a time to dress up and celebrate.

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