Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

The holiday of Saint Patrick Day is steeped in a unique cultural history. The story starts with a kidnapping, like many great legends. While the story of Saint Patrick may be slightly unknown, recently experts have discovered deeper parts of the history and traditions that millions take part in each year. Saint Patrick’s Day is today, Friday, March 17, 2017.

Who exactly is Saint Patrick? Saint Patrick was a British boy born to wealthy parents at the end of the fourth century. Patrick’s father was part of the clergy and the boy wanted to follow in his footsteps. At the time, Patrick was not overtly religious, it is believed that he originally wanted to join the church for tax incentives.

All of this would change when Patrick was kidnapped from his home at the age of sixteen by Irish raiders. The boy would be held captive in Ireland for six years. It is believed that he spent most of his time in captivity isolated as a sheep farmer. Becoming lonely, Patrick turned to religion for solace and eventually became a devout Christian.

Patrick finally escaped his captors after six years and made a two hundred mile trek to the coast of Ireland, where he was rescued. When he returned to Britain, he would underwent fifteen years of religious training. The man’s ultimate goal was to convert the Irish people to Christianity.

There are several myths surrounding the patron saint of this holiday. One is that Saint Patrick drove out all the snakes in Ireland. This is generally seen as symbolic myth by historians, given that the climate in Ireland is much too cold for snakes to survive or want to immigrate to. The myth was most likely started as a metaphor to explain Saint Patrick driving out all the pagans off the island.

Another common myth is the idea of the three leaf clover used by Saint Patrick to explain to his followers the concept of the holy trinity. It is speculated that this most likely could have been a fact in the saint’s teaching. Later, many would pin the three leaved clover to their clothes as a symbol of their Irish Christian pride. Millions continue the tradition today by participating in wearing the color green for the holiday.

Green would not, however, be the first color associated with Saint Patrick or his holiday. Originally Saint Patrick was associated with the color blue. There was even a shade referred to as Saint Patrick blue. Green would come with the identity and associations of Irish culture. The Irish would eventually bring the holiday to the United States when they immigrated in massive numbers during the Great Potato Famine.

Every March 17, millions around the world celebrate the Irish holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day, which is on the supposed anniversary of the death of the saint: March 17, 1460. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is a mixture of its religious roots and more modern celebrations of general Irish culture, often carried out with parades, pints, and parties. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from all of us at the Jefferson County Post!

Source: Elizabeth Lane, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

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