The history of St. Patrick’s Day

On this wonderfully eclectic planet of ours, very rarely do we “need” a reason to celebrate. We look for and indulge in a reason to do so.

Someone says “Hey, it’s *so-and-so* Holiday! Let’s party!” And, the general response is pretty much “Yeah, let’s do that!” i.e. New Years Eve, Fat Tuesday, St. Patty’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, etc…

The Celebration of St. Patrick: The man that history would come to know as Saint Patrick of Ireland started his life in fourth century Romanian-England. Kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 14, he would spend the next decade as a sheepherding slave.

In his early twenties he escaped his captives and fled back to England. Under the tutelage and guidance of St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, he was ordained a Bishop. Blessed and provided with the mission to return to Ireland to preach the gospel of The Church, he spent the remaining 40 years of life converting the lands inhabitants. Patrick witnessed and performed miracles, built churches, and was a guide for confession.

Since his death, March 17, 461 (Catholic.org) there has been celebration in his name. Cities with a historically large Catholic and/or Irish population would honor the departed saint with a feast of food, family, and music. It would traditionally be a “low-key” family affair, similar to our Thanksgiving.

St. Patty’s Day: “It’s St Patty’s Day. Everyone’s Irish tonight.” (Boondock Saints 1999 film) This is a common theme heard and stressed on St. Patty’s day. Cities rich in Irish history like Chicago, Boston, New York, New Orleans, and Mobile as well as globally in places like Montreal, Buenos Aires, London, and Auckland all make it a point to celebrate this holiday. And, it is a big deal!

An elaborate plethora of shamrocks and green adorn any and all that could be used as decoration. Bars and restaurants blare Celtic music, give away green “beer shirts” sponsored by Miller or Budweiser, and put green food coloring in your Bud Light.

It’s not tacky, well it is tacky, but it’s fun. Raid your closet and put on everything green that you own. It is even legal and allowed to wear Notre Dame gear. If you have some Mardi Gras beads, slap-em on! If you are able (and allowed) you and some friends take a trip to a larger city like Tuscaloosa or Mobile, find an Irish bar (there are many) and enjoy a plate of Corned Beef and Cabbage with a pint of green beer. Cheers!

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