For most of us living in the United States in the 21st century, St. Patrick's Day is seen as a widely celebrated and Americanized holiday. We may go to an Irish pub and drink green beer, feast on traditional Irish fare, or spend the day avoiding that dreadful co-worker on "pinch patrol" if you forgetfully (or intentionally) walked out of your house without wearing any green.
But why do we really celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Undoubtedly, most won't question any holiday associated with drinking brew, but I was curious. I wanted to know who St. Patrick was, and why he gets a holiday associated with eating and drinking. I turned to my trusty 'ol pal, Google, and here's what I found:
Most of the stories and legends about who St. Patrick was, are completely false. The Irish way of life is based on oral legend and myth- so there are many wrong assumptions that promote the uncertainty of the life he lived. A story that is widely accepted, though is that Saint Patrick, (the patron Saint of Ireland) landed on Ireland when he was captured by Irish raiders who attacked his family home when he was only 16. Supposedly, he spent 6 years there, and became a devout Christian after turning to religion from being scared and alone. After his escape, Patrick had a vision to to return to Ireland and become a missionary. Some believe that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.
While there is no certainty of St. Patrick's life, St Patrick's Day is believed to be the date of his death (460 A.D) and remains a National religious feast holiday for Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church. Worldwide, it is celebrated with parades, wearing green, feasting, and promoted with icons like the clover and the leprechaun.
Now, you know. Happy St. Patrick's Day!!