The History of St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday over 1000 years ago and has evolved into a cultural celebration enjoyed by all faiths, Irish and non-Irish alike. If you want the quick Q & A of St. Patrick’s Day, see below.
Who was St. Patrick?
St. Patrick was born in Ireland in the 4th century. As a teen he was kidnapped and made a slave but he returned to Ireland years later as a bishop with a mission to Christianize Ireland. He did a darn good job!
Why are shamrocks the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day?
The shamrock became symbolic of St. Patrick because he used it to explain the meaning of Trinity to Irish pagans. He died on March 17, which we know as St. Patrick’s Day.
Green is also the symbolic color of St. Pat. What do you expect when Ireland is so aptly named The Emerald Isle?
Did St. Patrick really drive the snakes out of Ireland?
Evolution suggests that snakes never inhabited Ireland. It is an island and there is no way for snakes to get there. People believe it was not snakes, but demons, that he drove out of Ireland. And by demons they mean non-Christians.
How has this day been celebrated through history?
For centuries, the day was commemorated by attending religious services because it was a Holy Day of Obligation on the Catholic churches’ liturgical calander. Over time, it became more and more of a happy celebration. In 1903, the Irish declared St. Patrick’s Day an official public holiday and a source of great Irish pride.
For the past century, St. Patrick’s day is marked by parades, sporting events like the All Ireland Club Football Championships, eating and drinking. The day is so important to Catholics that special dispensation was given by the Pope to allow eating meat if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during the observance of Lent.
Other great things to read about St. Patricks Day
- Irish Toast for St. Patrick’s Day from Costume SuperCenter
- More Irish Toasts from Costume SuperCenter
- Irish Toasts Part III from Costume SuperCenter
- Where do our St. Patrick’s Traditions Come From