Happy St Patrick’s Day 2017! Yes that’s right, today is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland but it is also a day where people around the globe celebrate the life of St Patrick.
To mark this occasion Lifeline24 would like to take you through the history of this marvelous day and explain what’s really all about, as well as how people celebrate in the modern day.
Who is St Patrick?
St Patrick was born into a wealthy religious family in Britain during the 4th Century. At the age of 16 St Patrick, or Maewyn Succat as it is believed he was named, was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken over to Ireland to be a slave.
It is said that the future patron saint of Ireland was sold to a druid chief and worked as a herdsman. It was during this time that St Patrick found god – praying up to 100 times a day during his time as a slave.
He was believed to have had a dream in-which God told him to leave Ireland by heading to the coast, where a ship would be waiting for him. He followed this dream and escaped from Ireland after six years of being a slave – returning to England and eventually becoming a priest.
Whilst back in England he took the Christian-Roman name of Patricius, which was later known as Patrick. He later returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary and converted thousands of the pagan Irish to Christianity.
The legend is that St Patrick used the leaves of the Shamrock to explain he Christian holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Over the next few decades he would continue to travel cross the country establishing monasteries, schools and baptising and ordaining priests.
St Patrick died at Saul on March 17, 461AD and was later buried at Downpatrick, County Down.
The First St Patrick’s Day?
It is believed that the first celebration of St Patrick took place in 1631 when the Church established a Feast Day. The first official St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland took place in Dublin in 1937.
Meanwhile over in America the first parade on took place back in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English army celebrated the holiday by marching through the streets of New York.
Nowadays St Patrick’s Day is global celebration, with famous cities around the world turning green for the day. It is national holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with parades taking place throughout both countries.
In America, the New York City parade is still going strong and over in Chicago they turn the water of the Chicago River green. Special landmarks are also turned green to mark the occasion including the Colosseum in Rome, Nelson’s Column in London, Edinburgh Castle and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.
Thousands of people will dress up as Leprechauns – with big green hats, ginger beards and shamrock logos. Pints of Guinness will be the drinks of the day – with many people starting early in the morning to get the celebrations under way.
Today is a day of celebration for everybody – but especially for those who are Irish or have Irish origins.