The Story Behind St. Patrick’s Day
To begin with, did you know St. Patrick was British, not Irish? It’s true. He was born in 390 A.D. into a family who were Christian aristocrats. Patrick never really got into the whole Christian thing, however. Everything changed when he was 16 and was kidnapped. He was sent to work abroad as a slave tending sheep. For more than 7 years, he labored in the Irish countryside. It was during this time that Patrick converted to Christianity and became deeply religious.
As legend has it, he heard voices in a dream instructing him to escape and he soon found his way back to England on a pirate ship. After reuniting with his loved ones, he quickly felt a calling to return to Ireland. He became a priest and lived out his days as a missionary in Ireland. He was persecuted heavily and his superiors back in Britain cast a disapproving eye on his work. He pretty much disappeared into obscurity after his death in 461 A.D.
Lots of mythology began to grow around the person of St. Patrick over the next couple of centuries, and eventually he was named the patron saint of Ireland. So what about that Shamrock? Well, it is believed that the three leaves of the Shamrock clover were used to demonstrate the Trinity of God, the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. One other myth worth noting is that St. Patrick drove out all the snakes in Ireland. However, the truth is there have never been any snakes there due to the frigid waters that surround the country. It’s simply too cold for snakes to come in.
It’s true that St. Patrick’s Day as we know it was pretty much created in the United States by Irish-Americans. In Ireland, it was celebrated for many years with nothing more than a large family meal. The very first parades were held in the 18th century by Irish soldiers who fought alongside the British in the American Revolutionary War. They continued to grow in popularity as various communities filled with Irish immigrants. It’s as much about declaring Irish sense of identity as it is to honor the patron saint. And well, we Americans love to throw a party so it has continued to be a fun excuse to eat, drink and be merry! So there you have it! All you ever wanted to know about going green with St. Patrick’s Day. And just remember—you heard it here at Oceanfront Vacation Rentals first!