A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day

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What began as a religious feast day for St. Patrick has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture. To commemorate the patron saint of Ireland, Oster Jewelers presents some St. Patrick’s Day history and some Oster Jewelers ‘lucky’ jewelry.

– St Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was born around the 5th Century in Britain (then part of the Roman Empire).

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– When he was 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and spent 6 years in captivity as a shepherd slave. Patrick escaped after a voice (which he believed belonged to God) spoke to him in a dream telling him it was time to leave Ireland.

– He converted to Christianity and later returned to Ireland after he experienced a second revelation telling him to become a Christian missionary. His mission was to minister to the Christians already living in Ireland and to convert others to Christianity – most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion at the time.

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– He died on March 17, 461 and was eventually known as the Patron Saint of Ireland.

– One well known myth is that Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. This symbolizes Patrick cleansing the Island of Paganism. The truth is there never were any snakes on Ireland. It’s surrounded by water too frigid for snakes to migrate to.

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– He used the 3 leaves of the shamrock to explain the holy trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). People in 18th Century Ireland started wearing shamrocks on March 17th to signify their Irish Christian pride. This eventually led to wearing green clothing which became a popular St Patrick’s Day custom.

– Shamrocks don’t really exist – they can be any number of 3 leaf plants.

– The St. Patrick’s Day parade celebration actually started in America. Once the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in the 1840s, hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants came to the United States. The population of Ireland before the Potato Famine was close to 8 million – now it’s about half that.

– The traditional color associated with St. Patrick was actually blue.

 

Source:

History.com

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