St. Patrick and His Day

4-leaf clover

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by 39% of the population of the USA, according to The History Channel.  Irish is the 2nd most reported ancestry by people in the USA, behind German.  This may explain why this holiday is celebrated across the country with parades, parties, and things such as dying the Chicago River green (which takes 40 pounds of green dye, by the way).  So, I thought a little history about the man behind the holiday would be in order.

Patrick was born circa 387 A.D. in Great Britain, likely in Scotland.  Patrick was kidnapped when he was 16, and sent to Ireland as a slave.  He spent 6 years herding sheep in Ireland before he was able to escape.  He made his way back to Britain and his family.  Here is where the story gets a little odd.  Patrick claims he had a dream in which a man named Victoricus gave him a letter, titled “The Voice of the Irish.”  As he read the letter, he heard the voices of the Irish begging him to come back to their country.  So, Patrick studied for the priesthood and became a Bishop.  In 433 A.D., he traveled back to Ireland and began preaching and building churches all over the country.  Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D. in Saul, Ireland, the place where he built his first church.

Patrick was made patron saint of Ireland after his death.  The Irish now celebrate the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death as a religious holiday.  They attend church in the morning, and eat and party in the afternoon.  Millions of people around the world join in the partying and drinking green beer.  After all, everyone can use a little luck ‘o the Irish!

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