St. Patrick’s Day, the national holiday of Ireland, is really observed on March 17 because it was the day when Saint Patrick passed away. No matter the day of the week, this day was chosen for the holiday because it was the day St. Patrick died. This year, St. Patrick’s Day is Friday, March 17, 2023.
The person who is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland is thought to have passed away in the little village of Saul in 461 AD, not far from the town of Downpatrick in County Down where he is purportedly buried.
Patrick reportedly entered eternal rest at the ripe old age of 122! The Four Masters’ Annals described their final days as follows:
“Patrick, son of Calphurn, son of Potaide, archbishop, first primate, and chief apostle of Ireland, whom Pope Celestine the First had sent to preach the Gospel and disseminate religion and piety among the Irish, was the person who separated them from the worship of idols and specters, who conquered and destroyed the idols which they had for worshipping; who had expelled demons and evil spirits from among them, and brought them from the darkness of sin and vice to the light of faith and good works, and who guided and conducted their souls from the gates of hell (to which they were going), to the gates of the kingdom of heaven.”
“It was he that baptized and blessed the men, women, sons and daughters of Ireland, with their territories and tribes, both fresh waters and sea inlets. It was by him that many cells, monasteries, and churches were erected throughout Ireland; seven hundred churches was their number.”
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The History Of Saint Patrick’s Day
We begin with the myth of a man who lived more than 1,000 years ago to comprehend why we commemorate St. Patrick’s Day. In the fifth century, a British man named Patrick envisioned himself visiting Ireland and teaching Christianity to the people there.
He went around Ireland explaining the Holy Trinity by using a shamrock (or three-leaf clover): The leaves of each clover stood for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Shamrocks are used in St. Patrick’s Day festivities since they are Ireland’s national flower.)
In Ireland, Saint. Patrick’s passing on March 17, 461 became a national holy celebration. After attending church in the morning, families would celebrate the rest of the day. The fasting days would be lifted on the celebration, which usually falls around Lent. The Irish celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by consuming corned meat and beer, a custom that is still observed today.
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