St. Paddy’s Day is one of the most celebrated Christian festivals in the UK and the US, perhaps as popular as any Saint day; but for many it is simply a time to wear green and make merry with friends.
If you want to know what the shamrock represents or why St. Patrick is associated with Ireland, then read on to learn more.
5. St. Paddy wasn’t Irish
St. Patrick was born in the 4th Century AD to Scottish, Welsh or possibly English parents, but he certainly wasn’t born in Ireland. When he was a teen, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was sold into slavery; it was during this period that he developed his relationship with the Christian God.
He returned to Ireland in later life and spent his years converting many of the Pagans to Christianity, which is how he became the patron saint of Ireland.
4. Why the 17th March?
It is believed that the 17th March is the day that St. Patrick died and went to heaven. This is classed as St. Patrick’s holy day in the Catholic Church and as such is celebrated on the same day each year – to honour his achievements in converting Pagan Ireland to Christianity.
In Ireland, the 17th March is a recognised national holiday.
3. The Shamrock
Some claim that the shamrock is a symbol of faith, hope and love, whilst others have absolutely no idea at all to its meaning, assuming, as many do, that it is perhaps something to do with leprechauns.
Apparently, St. Patrick used the shamrock as a way to explain The Holy Trinity to those he was trying to convert to Christianity. He explained that The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit could be individual beings, whilst also being connected as one.
2. St. Patrick’s colour was blue, not green
Again, I think it’s those troublesome leprechauns that are to blame for St. Patrick’s Day being heavily associated with the colour green; but originally it was connected with the colour blue. Early depictions of St. Patrick show him wearing blue garments, not green; even the Irish flag was blue with a golden harp in the centre.
It is not entirely known as to the reason why this festival became linked to the colour green, but there are a number of theories including the suggestion that it has something to do with the shamrock, which St. Patrick was very fond of using in his conversion of Pagans; or possibly the fact that Ireland became known as the “Emerald Isle” due to its lush, green countryside.
1. St. Paddy gives you permission to make merry!
It is believed that St. Patrick told people that on his feast day they should all enjoy a drop of the “hard stuff”. Up until 1970, however, this was not possible in Ireland because in 1903 it was declared, under Irish law, that St. Patrick’s Day would be a day of religious observance, instead of just being a national holiday.
In 1970 this law was overturned and people were once again free to make merry on St. Patrick’s Day.
What do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments below!