First, let me give credit for the photo that has been gracing the masthead this week. I *heart* Google image searches, although I do tend to swipe images without permission. (As my site isn’t exactly commercial, though, and gets a grand total of 10 hits a day, I honestly don’t feel too bad about it.) Anyway, thanks be to Jessa for posting this wonderful photo from her trip to Ye Olde Emerald Isle back in 2002, even though I’m a cowardly bastige and didn’t ask her permission to use it. (OMFG, so jealous. Ireland is most definitely on the list of places I want to visit before I die.)
So, we all know that St. Patrick’s Day is in commemoration of St. Patrick, who drove the snakes out of Ireland, right?
If you’re interested in what it’s *really* all about, here are some links for you:
Basically, the long and short of it is that one certain Briton by the name of Maewyn was born somewhere around the north of England or the south of Scotland, back around 385 AD (or 385 CE, if you prefer to be politically correct about it). He lived a fairly normal pagan life until he was captured into slavery at age 16 and shipped off to Ireland. He spent his days as a shepherd, during which time he learned of the Christian god, and began to abandon his pagan beliefs.
After six years, he managed to escape via a sailing ship and, after several more brief stints in slavery and seven years of general European wanderings, he decided to devote himself to the study of Christianity at a monastery in Gaul (modern France). Eventually, he returned to Britain as Patrick, and as a priest—but his true calling, revealed to him in a dream, was to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity.
So off he went.
He spent 30 years in Ireland, converting the pagans to Christianity and (if we are to believe the folklore) performing several miracles in the process. Legend has it that he explained the concept of the Trinity by plucking a shamrock from the ground and showing its three leaves as part of the whole.
After years of travel, successful conversions to Christianity, and recognition of such, he finally died at the age of 76 on (you guessed it) March 17, 461 AD. That day has been ordained St. Patrick’s Day ever since.
Previously, St. Patrick’s Day was a somber Catholic holy day; however, in more modern times, it has become a celebration of Irish heritage and of all things Irish. St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in the year 1737, in Boston… and it’s been downhill ever since. 🙂