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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A History of St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is the Roman Catholic feast day for St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, annually occurring on March 17.

St. Patrick himself
  • Patrick was born in Scotland in 385AD, but taken away to Ireland as a slave in his teens. During this time, he turned to religion. (
  • Patrick heard voices and saw visions, telling him to escape his captivity and return to his family, and then to return to Ireland as a missionary. (Source:
  • According to letters he had written, Patrick baptized thousands of people, ordained priests, and converted many from paganism, including wealthy women, some of whom became nuns. (
  • For 20 years he had traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion. (Source:
  • Many of the stories written about St. Patrick are false, including the banishment of all snakes from Ireland. (Source:

    The Color Green
  • The color associated with St. Patrick's Day was originally blue. (Source:
  • Starting int he 17th century, green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of this holiday. (Source:

    The Shamrock
  • Three is the most sacred number in Celtic symbolism: Crone, Mother, Virgin; Love, Valour, Wit; Faith, Hope, Charity; Past, Present, Future. (Source:
  • St. Patrick had used the 3-leaf shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Source:

    Today's Customs
  • Up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows. (Source:
  • The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. (Source:
  • Since 1762, Chicago has dyed the Chicago river green using vegetable dye. (Source:

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