Happy St Patrick’s Day! What’s it Mean, Anyway?
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
March 17, the day the patron saint of Ireland died, commemorates St Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
So, who is this Saint Patrick guy, exactly?
Like many Americans, I grew up celebrating this festive holiday alongside the large U.S. Irish diaspora, not knowing much about the historical significance of Saint Patrick.
What you may not realize (and I actually first discovered on my friend’s site The Fairytale Traveler) is that Saint Patrick was British not Irish. Born to a wealthy Romano-British family, he was kidnapped at 16 and taken to Gaelic Ireland, where he was a slave for six years. During this stint of servitude, he found God, and God told him to escape to the coast where a ship would be waiting to take him home. Once back on the main British Isle, he became a priest. His grandfather was already a priest and father a deacon in the Christian church.
He then returned to the land that held him captive and where he found God to convert those pagan Irish heathens to Christianity. He spent many years evangelizing the northern half of Ireland, converting thousands to Christianity. He supposedly used the abundant three leaf clover or shamrock to explain the holy trinity to his captive audience.
Green became associated with Ireland after the Irish Confederates flew a green harp flag in 1640.
Saint Patrick’s DAY
The day was made an official Christian feast day in the 17th century. The Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking (remember, we kicked off Lent with Mardi Gras) were lifted on this day, which has propagated the tradition of heavy beer and Jameson drinking, apparently.
It’s a public (i.e. government) holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Montserrat. The government hasn’t yet mandated that we take paid vacation on March 17 in the U.S., but the holiday is still joyously celebrated by the Irish diaspora (and all those who stand by them) here, as well as Britain, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia. My Irish friend had a big St. Paddy’s Day celebration in Australia last year (check out that convo and photos). Oh, and she corrected me; it’s not St. Patty’s Day, it’s St. Paddy‘s Day.
Baton Rouge St. Paddy’s Day
Like I said, growing up, we always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but I never really knew the history behind it. Yesterday, I went to what was probably my tenth Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day parade (just a guess), and this year, I knew a little more about the origins of this celebration.
I’m glad I did a little research. Here are some highlights from the parade…
Check out what some other bloggers are writing about Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day!!
The Wandering Educators compiled an amazing, all-inclusive list of everything Ireland, both entire websites and blog posts by category.
Bret and Mary of Green Global Travel posted some amazing Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, including shepherd’s pie and Guinness BBQ burger!
Nick shares his crazy tale of Team America in Dublin, where it’s all about Guinness, parades and….a green Liffey River?
Read all about Ireland’s best eats, including….chocolate marshmallow and berry pizza from Travel With Bender.
Billie and Steve relive their Ireland travel memories for St. Patrick’s Day.
I’ve also written lots of posts about Ireland:
From Connemara’s land of bogs, to Dublin’s pub scene (and the smallest pub in the city)…. from the striking Cliffs of Moher and the Dunguaire Castle to the famous Ring of Kerry…. from Killarney National Park to touring the Guinness Storehouse….It’s all there!