Every March 17, people from around the world celebrate the Irish Patron Saint, St. Patrick. Originally born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, St. Patrick was brought to Ireland at an early age as a slave. While enslaved, his faith in Christianity grew. Some scholars believe he escaped Ireland on a cargo ship headed back to Britain while others believe he was never kidnapped at all but fled from his life and future in Britain and became a slave trader rather than a slave himself. Nonetheless, Patrick made it back to his family in Britain. His time at home was short lived as he felt a religious calling and was ordained as a deacon then consecrated at a bishop and was given the name Particius (his given name was originally Maewyn Succat). He then asked to be sent back to Ireland where his knowledge of the land and language helped him convert the Druids to Christianity. It is said he ran the “snakes” out of Ireland referring to the Druids and pagans. During his lifetime he established monasteries, churches, and schools. The most well-known myth surrounding St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of the Irish shamrock. He died March 17 in 461 A.D.
Although St. Patrick is a saint in name only (he was never canonized by the Catholic Church), the day of his death has been recognized as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. As it happens, the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day falls during the season of Lent when the consumption of meat is prohibited. However, on this day, the exclusion on meat was admonished. Traditional festivities include music, dancing drinking and eating Irish bacon and cabbage.
In 1737 the first St. Patrick’s celebration took place in the United States in Boston, but it wasn’t until 1762 that New York City held the first St. Patricks’ Day Parade. The first parade in Ireland was held over 100 years later in 1903. Though, St. Patrick’s Day is a National holiday in Ireland, New York City holds the biggest parade in the world followed by Dublin, Ireland then Sydney, Australia.