St. Patrick's Day is a fun-filled holiday celebrated in Ireland, America, and many other countries. It's usually marked with festivities like parades, special foods, and other traditional symbols related to Ireland. This holiday is a way to commemorate the legacy of Saint Patrick and celebrate Irish culture. While you're probably most familiar with St. Patrick's Day traditions like shamrocks and wearing green, this holiday is also deeply rooted in Irish history and Christian religious tradition. Read on to learn more about St. Patrick's Day, including: the story of the real Saint Patrick, myths about St. Patrick's Day, the origin of St. Patrick's Day, and St. Patrick's Day traditions from around the world.
Who is St. Patrick?
Saint Patrick, whose real name was Maewyn Succat and was also known as the Apostle of Ireland, lived in the British Isles during the 5th century. He was kidnapped while working as a missionary and spent several years as a slave in Ireland. After his escape, he believed that God directed him to serve the church in Ireland and spent many decades doing evangelical work there. There are many unconfirmed legends that surround Saint Patrick. What is known with certainty, however, is that he greatly contributed to the establishment of Christianity in Ireland. Although Saint Patrick was never formally canonized as a saint, his sainthood is recognized by many different branches of Christianity and he has long been regarded as a patron saint of Ireland.
Where did St. Patrick's Day originate from?
St. Patrick's Day commemorates the work of Saint Patrick and the introduction of Christianity to Ireland. While the holiday is popularly known as St. Patrick's Day, it is known as the Feast of Saint Patrick under the Christian liturgical calendar. It is celebrated on March 17 which is believed to mark the date of his death. Various Christian churches have recognized the Feast of Saint Patrick since the 17th century, while the modern celebration of St. Patrick's Day became an official Irish holiday in 1903. The modern celebration of St. Patrick's Day not only recognizes the work of Saint Patrick, but is also a day to enjoy Irish culture and to show pride in Irish heritage and history. This is particularly true in areas with large Irish immigrant populations like America, England, and Australia.
What are the traditions of St. Patrick's Day?
There are several iconic traditions related to St. Patrick's Day. The best known tradition is wearing the color green. While blue was the original color of St. Patrick's Day, green has long since replaced blue to become the most visible sign of this holiday. The shamrock has become nearly synonymous with St. Patrick's Day over the years as people incorporate it into their St. Patrick's Day outfits and decorations. St. Patrick's Day is also marked with parades and festivals in Ireland and other areas with large Irish populations like Boston, New York, and Chicago.
What are myths about St. Patrick's Day?
There are many popular legends and myths about Saint Patrick and St. Patrick's Day. One of the most popular symbols of St. Patrick's Day is the Shamrock, and legend states that this is because Saint Patrick used the Shamrock to teach new Christians about the concept of the holy trinity. Other popular myths include Saint Patrick expelling all snakes from Ireland and the tale of Saint Patrick's walking stick's turning into a live tree. While these myths are important to the history of St. Patrick's Day, they are generally recognized as folk tales that were embellished over time. In fact, these popular legends generally include cultural elements that were significant to Celtic Irish heritage prior to the introduction of Christianity.
Additional Resources on St. Patrick's Day
There are many more facts and legends related to Saint Patrick and the centuries old tradition of St. Patrick's Day. This holiday has played an important role in Irish history and retains great significance for the Irish community around the world. If you're interested in celebrating St. Patrick's Day, learn about popular ways to commemorate St. Patrick's Day from traditional Irish foods and drinks to unique traditions from around the world. Find great ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day including delicious meals of corned beef and cabbage, listening to Irish folk music, or simply learning about important moments in Irish history.
Written By Sophie Pierce.