History of St. Patrick's Day

History of St. Patrick's Day

A holiday centered in the history of a single country is St. Patrick’s Day. A feast day named for an Irish saint, it spread across the world due to the high frequency of Irish immigration, and now is a popular holiday in many locations.

Saint Patrick is a figure from early Irish history, the 5th century. After spending his youth enslaved by Irish raiders, he escaped and became a priest. He then returned to Ireland as part of a major attempt to bring Christianity to the Irish. He is legendarily attributed to driving all the snakes out of Ireland at one point.

Festivals to Patrick were e celebrated by the Irish as early as the 800s, slowly gaining in practice throughout the years. The Irish diaspora, spreading people from that country all over the world, did much to increase the number of places to celebrate this figure from what was once a single small country.

When people think of St. Patrick’s Day, they first think of drinking, of course. Ireland being a country with a great love for the making and use of alcohol naturally chooses to celebrate with an excessive amount of same. As a country with a large Catholic population, it is worth noting that this day specifically allows for a break from any Lent based promises against food or drink.

The symbols of St. Patrick’s Day are in many ways the same symbols of that of Ireland itself. The shamrock is a favorite symbol. Said to be a way for Patrick to explain the Trinity through the three leaves, this tiny plant became a symbol of him and of the country.

Mythic figures of the country, such as leprechauns are common as well. Part of the myths of the fairy peoples of the land, these small figures are the focus of many stories, including their relation to rainbows and their hidden pot of gold. Once depicted as wearing red and other colors, now they wear the traditional green.

In fact, green is in general a major color of St. Patrick’s Day. Wear green or be hit is the common idea there. As an official Irish color, it is clear shorthand for the holiday as well.

So find a bit of the Irish spirit this year, and have fun!

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