March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Paddy’s Day, for some, is actually the day of this non-Irish’s death. Yes, the revered patron saint of Ireland, is not Irish. He was born in Britain and named as Maewyn Succat. He adopted a Christian name, Patricius, when he became a bishop. Patrick is the nickname.
At age 16, Succat was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold as a slave to tend sheep in Ireland. During that time, he prayed a lot to God. Once he dreamed of escaping and believed it was God leading him out of slavery. He did find a ship which took him back to his family in Britain.
Back home, he studied to become a priest. When he became a bishop, he decided to sail back to pagan-stricken Ireland. He was followed by many converts into Christianity. Celtic priests were not happy. Even his former master killed himself for not being able to bear the thought of Patrick’s success.
Bishop Patricius died on March 17, 461 AD after 30 years of service. He was not canonized as saint until the 12th or 17th Century.
To this day, his death anniversary is honored as a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Montserrat and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is not only celebrated by those of Irish Christian heritage but also other cultures, including non-Christians and even atheists. It has become a tradition of parades, drinking and merry-making.
St. Patrick’s Green
St. Patrick’s Day or SPD symbols include the color green which is thought to be attributed to one of Ireland’s flag colors.
The country itself is also referred to as the Emerald Isle due to its lush green landscape, including shamrocks.
A usual three-leaf shamrock, which symbolizes Irish Christianity, is believed to have been used by Bishop Patricius to explain the Holy Trinity.
Connecting the dot, finding a four-leaf version of it is lucky.
It is just like finding a pot of gold that leads to its mythical owner, a leprechaun. This small bearded fairy is of Irish folklore.
So, as we trace back…
- a leprechaun,
- pot of gold,
- shamrock, and
- Ireland green
…have all become the symbols for St. Patrick’s Day. (Let us know if we have missed something.)