…or the Feast of Saint Patrick
I’m not Irish, nor am I of Irish descent even on March 17th; as many people claim themselves to be. I have, of course, for the sake of following the hype and celebrating something that involves the color green; gone out on some festive St. Patty’s Day (or weekend) celebratory feasting of corned beef with a side of Guinness and the occasional or steady downing of Jameson. I never questioned the origins of the holiday but by logical deduction I am guessing it has to do with religion and Ireland.
This year I wanted to gain a little better understanding as to what the actual history of this holiday is. But, as opposed to my intended trip to the library to read up on the topic of St Patrick’s Day, I skimmed through the wikipedia entry and here is a hastily composed summary of that.
Patrick was born and raised in a wealthy Roman British family in the 4th century, where both his father as well as his grandfather served the Christian church as either a priest or deacon. As a teen Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and made to a slave to Ireland. For the next several years he was a shepherd when God spoke to him and instructed his fate, which was to escape and return home.
He became a devout priest and eventually returned to Ireland where he converted the pagans to Christianity. Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461 ad. He became the patron saint of Ireland and his death has been celebrated to mark the coming of Christianity to the nation of Ireland.
The day has since been symbolized with green shamrocks, parades and whiskey; though some folks may also attend a church service as well.