Who Was St. Patrick And Why Do We Celebrate Him?

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and everybody is claiming a “little Irish” and wearing green.  Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  First a little bit of history.  St. Patrick was kidnapped at age 16 and became a slave.  During this time, St. Patrick found Christianity.  According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. According to Irish tradition he spent many years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converted “thousands”. Patrick’s efforts to convert, subjugate, and drive off the Pagans (specifically the Celts) were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove “snakes” out of Ireland. (Ireland never had any snakes.)  On St Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”). St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world with a nod to all things Irish.  We all don our favorite green clothes and claim a “bit of Irish” in our heritage.  Even those without an Irish heritage get into the act and have a bit of fun. Savannah, GA has a huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration with parades, Irish events, even turning the large water fountain in downtown green!

So, pull out your best green outfit and claim to be a “bit of Irish”.  See what your local community is doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and join in the fun.


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