Saturday, February 21, 2015

Origins of St. Patrick’s Day

Every year on March 17th, the death of the most recognized and common patron saint of Ireland (Saint Patrick) is celebrated. Saint Patrick lived from AD 385- 461. The Festival of Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration, celebrated by the Irish and Irish at heart.

This holiday was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century. It is celebrated by public parades and festivals, the wearing of green and shamrocks and the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. The strict restrictions of eating and drinking of alcohol is lifted for this one day. This holiday is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Church of Ireland, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church. And now spreads throughout our culture, whether you are a church attendee or not, and whether you are Irish or not. This day recognizes the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and it also celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish people in general. Also, it is celebrated and recognized by Christians attending church services as well.

St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Montserrat, Great Britain, Canada, Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland

What we know of St Patrick comes from the Declaration that he wrote himself. He was born in Roman Britain during the fourth century into a wealthy Romano-British family. His grandfather was a priest in the Christian Church and his father was a deacon. In the Declaration Patrick wrote, when he was just sixteen years old he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to become a slave to Gaelic Ireland. He spent six years there working as a shepherd and during this time he found God. He writes that God told him to flee to the coast where there would be a ship waiting to take him home. After he made it home, he became a priest and evangelized to thousands of pagan Irish people in the Northern Ireland, converting them to Christianity.

St. Patrick died on March 17th, 461 AD and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the centuries there have been many legends that have been told about Ireland’s foremost saint.

So now when you recognize St. Patrick’s Day, you are thoroughly educated about what exactly you are celebrating. So kiss me, I’m Irish!

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