Today is St. Patrick’s Day!
Many people wear green clothes and stick a shamrock into their jacket or hat. In Great Britain, Canada and the United States, and as far away as Argentina, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, it is a day to eat, drink and be merry !
Every year on the 17th of March, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe celebrate this day. What began as a religious day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival of Irish culture with street parades, dancing, music, special food and drink and a whole lot of green!
It is believed that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish in the 5th century. He said that the three leaves of the plant represented the father, the son and the holy ghost. For this reason the shamrock became an important national symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick is still remembered for bringing Christianity to the gaelic people.
St. Patrick had an eventful life. He was born in Wales somewhere around AD 385. When he was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland. He spent six years in slavery before escaping and returning home. After becoming a priest, he returned to northern and western Ireland to preach and convert the people to Christianity. In later life, he served as a bishop in Ireland and died in Downpatrick on the 17th of March, 461. By the seventh century, he was already recognised as the patron saint of Ireland and Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day and holiday in the early 17th century.