Saint Patrick was born to a Christian family in Great Britain in the 4th century, 387 AD and died on March 17th, 461 AD. Hence the celebration day of this Holiday. The reason his death is celebrated and not mourned suggests the impact he had on the Irish culture. He was a Saint of renewal and Christianity. He was a missionary and his death only brings light and vision to those who celebrate him.
He was raised by a Christian family but kidnapped at the age of 16 and enslaved in Ireland. He served as a shepherd for 6 years before he escaped. He claims in some of his writing that a voice came to him and told him that he will soon be free to return home, and so he did. While in captivity he grew close to the Irish culture and people, so the desire to go back as a missionary was not just a fulfillment of his Bishop duties but also a personal need to enlight the Irish and bring them to Christianity. He was known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, among the first to bring Christian faith to a pagan island.
On March 17th and the days prior to that, we see the color green emerge in many stores, on costumes, gifts, hats, decorative material and so much more. However, have you heard of St. Patrick’s blue?
The Order of Saint Patrick was established 1783 and while trying to find a color that would fit nicely for their uniforms and differ from other orders, they decided on dark blue, which is also known as St. Patrick’s blue. Ireland uses blue in many symbols in their country such as in schools, in sports, army (on uniforms) and faculties.
You may wonder why Ireland decided to change from blue to green as their color to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Many believe that the shamrock has a big impact on wearing of the green. Even when blue was the national color of Ireland there were still people wearing green crosses and the shamrock on their hats so the color green was used for quite some time. Another well known reason is the beauty of Emerald Island and the overall pride in their culture and nature. Green is also a color of Spring and new start, reminding us of the way St. Patrick started Christianity in Ireland, from humblling beginnings. The beauty of Ireland is relevant in the riches of the land and also the souls of the Irish people. Some may argue that green is being worn because of the shamrock which has three leaves and is green. Another reason may be that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain Christianity to the pagans, by showing them that Trinity is similar to a shamrock.
Legend has it that leprechauns are mean little creatures wearing white socks, red beards and green hats. They are so focused on storing riches that they are hiding them at the end of a rainbow, so that nobody will ever find them. They are also pinching those who don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. We are also pinching others as an American tradition that came to life around 1700. It is believed that if you don’t wear green you may not belief in the freedom of your spirit and do not want to be prosperous. Others make sure they eat something green that day in the form of salad or cabbage, similar to the New Years Day.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland as a religious and cultural Holiday. Other countries, like Germany, Scotland and United States are also celebrating March 17th. Some celebrate those who are named Patrick and Patricia while others are just enjoying the great Irish food, dance and beer.
Did you know that in the early years of St. Patrick being an Apostle it was unholy to name your child after him? He was loved and worshipped by the Irish and no other could have achieved such greatness as to be given such an important name.
Legend or not, Saint Patrick Day is a reminder to all to celebrate life, the good things in life and enjoy each other as Christians and well doers. Wear green, don’t let the leprechauns pinch you!