Happy St. Patrick’s Day
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. But why do we celebrate it? Because of the green beer, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it.
St. Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church.
Today, it’s celebrated by pretty much anyone who likes a good party. But the day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Today, it celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations and parades can be seen around the globe, with partygoers adorned in green attire and shamrocks. Christians who belong to liturgical denominations also attend church services and, historically, the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.
According to tradition, Saint Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. Saint Patrick's efforts against the Druids were eventually turned into the fabled myth that he drove "snakes" out of Ireland, despite the fact that snakes were not known to inhabit the region.
Who was Saint Patrick? Interestingly, much of what we know about Saint Patrick comes from the “Declaration,” which was allegedly written by Saint Patrick himself. It’s believed he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to the Declaration, at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. It says he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he found God. The Declaration says God told Saint Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Saint Patrick went on to become a priest.
So why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? So we don’t get pinched, of course!
Enjoy Ireland’s rich heritage and the important religious underpinnings Saint Patrick brought to this widely celebrated day. Assuming this comes with a green beer, please be responsible and get yourself a designated driver!