St. Patrick’s Day – How it all started
St. Patrick’s Day is a common celebration and time to get together with friends and have a great time. But have you ever wondered why it is that the day is celebrated? And in particular the traditions that are practiced with it? Well I was wondering so I did a bit of research just to see just whats going on here.
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.
Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
With Catholics pouring into America the tradition took hold and made a wide celebration in the states. Commonly the celebration here in the U.S. is larger than that of what is celebrated in Ireland. With the lift on eating restrictions and alcohol restrictions during lent is what gave the rise to the tradition of having a pint with friends and eating a large meal. A bit of a break for the Catholics that everyone ends up sharing with them in celebration. It’s fun for all so why not come together and enjoy!