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The Lowndown on St. Paddy

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Who was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in Kilpatrick, Scotland, in the year of 387 AD. to parents of a high ranked Roman family. At sixteen, Irish Marauders carried him off and sold him as a slave to a chieftain in what is now the county of Antrim in Ireland. During his days of captivity he mastered the Celtic tongue and became familiar with the details of Druidism.

After six years, he fled captivity to Britain where he devoted himself to the service of God. He was eventually promoted to priesthood. Pope Celestine entrusted him with the mission to bring Christianity to Ireland. It was then that he was given the name “Patercius” or “Patritius” derived from two Latin words meaning “the father of the people.”

Patrick journeyed through Ireland despite much danger, and many legends tell of miracles and mystical battles between him and the Druids. Because of his knowledge of the Celtic language, St. Patrick easily spread the word of Christianity and over several years battled Irish paganism by conquering one kingdom after another. He succeeded in converting almost the entire population of the Island.

Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th?

St. Patrick died in Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland on the 17th of March, 460 AD. Thus we celebrate this patron saint of Ireland on the seventeenth of March every year.

Did St. Patrick really drive the snakes out of Ireland?

The legend is that St. Patrick drove all the snakes into the seas where they drowned. In actual fact, the legend represents the driving out of paganism from Ireland. Any snakes that may have been in Ireland were most likely
taken care of by the Ice Age.

When was the first St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in North America?

The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America was held in Boston in 1737.

Why do we use Shamrock’s to represent St. Patrick’s Day?

The legend goes that St. Patrick used a shamrock as an analogy to explain the Trinity to his converters. Each leaf on the plant is of equal size and importance, as with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The shamrock thus became the national symbol of Ireland.

What about Leprechauns?

Leprechauns have absolutely nothing to do with St. Patrick. In Irish legend, leprechauns were generally seen as bad tempered spirits, capable of great mischief. But, since they are Irish and are cute little fellas, they were quickly adopted by greeting card companies.

  Related Article:
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