By: Katie Bailey
Who was Saint Patrick? Saint Patrick, of Britain, was born about 390 A.D., and while he was growing up in Wales was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He dreamed of seeing God while in imprisonment and was told to escape with a getaway ship. He finally escaped back to Britain and then to France where he joined a monastery because he saw God and believed he helped him escape. When Patrick became a bishop he dreamed while asleep that the Irish were calling him back to Ireland to tell them about God.
There he converted the Gaelic Irish and often preached which led him to make conversions in royal families which upset the Celtic Druids (leaders in the Celtic community). He was arrested several times and escaped each time, continuing his travels through Ireland, establishing monasteries.
It is said that St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Christian trinity; this refers to the combination of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He died on March 17, A.D. 461.
Every year on March 17, the Irish and many others around the globe celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the ‘saint of Ireland’ has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.
St. Patrick’s day was first celebrated in America in New York, 1762 by a group of Irish soldiers in the British military who marched down Broadway. This began the tradition of a military theme in the parade.
Corned bacon and cabbage is the traditional meal enjoyed on St. Patrick's Day. The recipe has been transformed today to corned beef. The original meat in this Irish served dish was Irish bacon. The corned beef was changed from bacon to beef by Irish immigrants to America that could not afford the pricey meat. The holiday eventually changed from the religious celebration of St. Patrick’s conversions into the holiday we know today.
In America and some other countries, we associate St. Patrick’s Day with leprechauns and wearing green. The Leprechaun is an Irish fairy. He looks like a small old man and is about 2 feet tall. There is a legend that wearing green on this day makes you invisible and leprechauns can’t pinch you because they can’t see you. There was no real reason why the leprechauns would pinch, and it was probably a reason to ward people away from their gold. Today, St. Patty’s Day is a reason to party, drink, wear green, and go around pinching people that aren’t wearing green.