Happy St. Patrick’s Day From The Jefferson County Post!

Today we celebrate the patron Saint of Ireland and avoid those who want to pinch us. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day Saturday March 17, 2018. Many around the world, not just those of Irish origins, will use the day to celebrate heritage and Christian traditions. St. Patrick’s Day has a rich and varied past that actually begins in England and not Ireland.

Historically many people have been led to believe that Saint Patrick was born in Ireland. This however, is a falsehood. The Saint was actually born in England when it was still part of the Roman Empire. His family was overtly religious but the young man did not share in his family’s religious zeal.

This all changed when Patrick was kidnapped at age 16 by Irish raiders and taken to the island as a slave. He would spend his days scared and alone as a sheep herder. This time would prove significant was Patrick would turn to Christianity to help him during these difficult times. Eventually Patrick would escape his captures and find solstice in a church on the Irish coast. He would find a boat and get passage back to his native England and his family.

Once he was back in England Patrick studied for many years and eventually became a priest. Patrick had a strong conviction to go back to Ireland. He would fulfill this desire and would spend the rest of his life converting the island to Christianity. The Irish would come to honor Patrick and eventually make him the patron Saint of Ireland.

Irish traditions would come to America when Irish immigrants were forced to move to the continent during the Great Potato Famine which hit Ireland in the 1840’s. Many would die and others would seek refuge on American shores. During this tragedy many would bring the traditions of home with them to the new world.

Popular Saint Patrick’s Day traditions began early. It is said that Saint Patrick himself started the tradition of the three leaved clover as he used it to explain the three parts of the holy trinity. Many began to wear the clover and later green clothing as a symbol of their Irish Christian pride.
Celebrating the Irish holiday with parades would actually start here in America. The tradition would start in 1762 when some Irish soldiers decided to celebrate the holiday in a pub in Manhattan. This would evolve into the Saint Patrick’s Day parade that happens in New York each year which also happens to be the oldest and longest parade on record for the holiday. Chicago honors the holiday by dyeing a portion of the Chicago River green each year.

Today the holiday is celebrated in Ireland and around the world with parades, concerts, outdoor theatre performances and even firework shows. Many see it as an opportunity to connect with their Irish roots and celebrate an important symbol of Irish pride. Many around the world echo the sentiments of their Irish brothers and choose to honor the patron Saint Patrick as well. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from all of us at the Jefferson County Post. Don’t forget to wear green today!

Source: Elizabeth Lane, Staff Writer

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