The glories of the St. Patrick’s Day parades that take place all over the globe are broadcasted on television to huge audiences. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and those of Irish decent pay homage to his lasting memory. Of course, the holiday is celebrated by many that are not of Irish decent as well. Yet, despite the large numbers of people that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, most are not completely familiar with why St. Patrick is considered such an iconic figure worthy of such adulation.
A brief look at the man and the history of the holidays honoring him can answer such questions…
The early life of the great St. Patrick is lost mostly to history. He was born in the 4th century somewhere in the Roman Empire. He was a slave in his youth but eventually able to escape his masters. He converted to Christianity and experienced a dream that he needed to spread the word of God throughout the world.
In particular, he traveled to Ireland where he employed a very novel approach: he used the three leafed Shamrock as a means of explaining The Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was the use of the shamrock that also crafted the notion that green would be the color most associated with this patron saint.
St. Patrick was a very popular evangelist and is considered the main person responsible for the spread of Christianity to Ireland. Ironically, St. Patrick’s Day has become a secular holiday in many circles. St. Patrick would pass away on March 17, 461 and his date of passing would be the day selected to honor St. Patrick’s Day.
As St. Patrick’s Day 2011 approaches, most will notice that you neither have to be Irish or Catholic to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday is celebrated all over the world and by people of all different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
The holiday is also known for its celebratory consumption of food and drink. Yes, drinking alcohol is a popular past time among those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. However, the holiday seeks to promote a sense of fun and communal joy. It does not depart from its positive sentiments in any way despite the rollicking festivities that surround it.
All those that wish to celebrate the feast day of this great saint can do so with abandon and “be Irish for a day” as the popular saying goes. St. Patrick’s Day cards and gifts are available in most stores as well.