saint patrick

Saint Patrick’s Day has become a money making day for many businesses.  If the bars did not do well during the holidays in December and early January, they can SURELY count on March 17 to fill their coffers.  My city holds what is considered to be the second largest St. Patrick’s Day party in the United States.  It is an all out drinkfest and public drunkenness is allowed.  I usually lock myself away, content in the safety of my home but this year I had to work.  Thankfully my place of employment is on the opposite side of town where the festivities were NOT.

Should you decide to take a survey about St. Patrick as you make your way through the ocean of people along river street and downtown, you might be very disappointed to discover just how inaccurate the information about this saint will be.  How about you?  How much do you really know?  Well, here is what I learned in my research:

St. Patrick died on March 17 so the day on which  America parties and gets drunk is really supposed to be a day of remembrance and reverence.  Instead, it is a day filled with drinking, parties, and parades.

“According to Irish law, from 1903 to 1970 St. Patrick’s Day was a religious observance for the country of Ireland where the pubs were closed.  The law changed in 1970 and was redefined as national holiday for economic reasons.”

In the United States, many people go through the streets shouting “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” while wearing green.  Some say that St. Patrick wore green but in most of the original catholic presentations, Saint Patrick  is wearing blue vestments.  It is only in recent years that many pictures show him in green.

What about the shamrock?  NO HE DID NOT SAY THAT IT WAS THE SYMBOL OF IRELAND.  Patrick, when preparing one of his sermons, was inspired to use the shamrock to simplify the description of the Trinity (God the father, God the son, God the Holy Spirit) and how they are three parts but function as one.  By the way, the symbol of Ireland is a HARP.

So, was this patron saint an Irishman?  NO.  His parents were Roman citizens that possibly  lived in  England, Wales, or Scotland.  Many scholars can’t decide but is was not Ireland.  How did he end up in Ireland?

“At the age of 16, St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland.  He escaped at age 22 finding sanctuary in a monastery in England.”

Finally, NO HE DID NOT LEAD SNAKES OUT OF IRELAND!  At least not literal snakes.  It was said that his message of the Trinity and God’s love for the people moved the people to the point of conversion.  Those who did not convert, left the country.  At least that’s what some people say.

Now when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around again you will have a clearer understanding of who St. Patrick was and what he stood for.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

~~~Malinda Gwyn~~~


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