Published on March 17th, 2018 | by Jasmine Evans
What You Should Know About St. Patrick’s Day
The 17th of March – St. Patrick’s Day. It’s that time of the year again where the majority of the UK honour the Irish culture by dressing as leprechauns and having our one yearly pint of cold Guinness. But who exactly is St. Patrick and what did he do?
St Patrick’s Day – Maewyn Succat
St. Patrick is a patron saint of Ireland and one of Christianity’s most iconic historical figures. Born in fifth-century Roman Britain as Maewyn Succat, St. Patrick converted over 135,000 people, established 300 churches and consecrated 350 bishops. However, “Happy St. Maewyn Succat” just doesn’t have the same ring to it!
According to historical records, at aged sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders from his home in Britain and taken to Ireland where he spent several years forced to work as a slave. During this time, he learnt the language, culture and ways of the Druids who he eventually redeemed in later life as a Christian Priest. St. Patrick claimed that whilst a slave, he had a dream where he was told by God “your ship is ready” before he escaped and fled back to his family in Britain.
St. Patrick spent the next 30 years living in solace and studying the Christian faith, before being summoned again by God to return Ireland and continue his teachings. St. Patrick’s mission was to bring Christianity to the Celtic people of Ireland, which was well received. He succeeded in transforming the famous shamrock, the four leafed clover, from a Celtic symbol to a symbol of his Christian Holy Trinity.
A Global Celebration
Since then, St. Patrick’s Day has been a global celebration of Irish heritage and culture with various cities adopting different approaches to celebration. While the obvious forms of celebrations might include dressing in green, consuming copious amounts of alcohol and attempting an Irish jig, some cities really pull the leprechaun out of the bag. To conclude, here are three examples:
1. New York City
New York City hosts the largest St. Patrick’s day celebration of them all, attracting over two million visitors to the city to take part in a 6 hour long parade. The NYC St. Patrick’s day parade dates back the 1760’s, making it older than the United States itself.
What better way to spend St. Patrick’s Day than in Dublin? Each year in Dublin, over half a million people come to the city to celebrate in true Irish Style. The city is famous for dressing historical landmarks in a green glow, including the National History Museum and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Every year, the Chicago River is dyed emerald green to celebrate the day of St. Patrick. The spectacle attracts over 400,000 visitors each year to the Windy City and is surely one of the most imaginative forms of celebration. You can read more in our article The Tale of Chicago’s Green River.