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St. Patrick's Day, why do we celebrate it?

St. Patrick's Day is closing in, you're getting your decorations, making plans, and picking out your favorite green sweater; but do you know who St. Patrick is, or why we even celebrate this holiday? Here's a brief history of his life and why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick was born around 386AD to a wealthy Christian family in Britain at the end of the fourth century. When he was 16 years of age, a group of raiders attacked his family estate. They took him prisoner and transported him to Ireland.

Patrick escaped his life as a prison after over 6 years of captivity, traveling almost 200 miles to the Irish shore by foot. He said God's voice guided him and told him it was time to leave Ireland. After escaping, he claimed he experienced a revelation, an angel telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He then begun undertaking religious training, a study at that time which would last 15 years or more. After his training was complete, he was sent to Ireland to minister to resident Christians and to convert those who are not. He tried to convert people without impeding much on their traditions. He used shamrocks to explain the holy trinity and imposed a sun, a strong pagan symbol, with a cross, which are known today as Celtic crosses. He spent the remaining years of his life preaching Christianity and establishing schools, monasteries, and churches in Ireland. St. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17th, 460AD, which is why it is celebrated on that day.

St. Patrick was one of the first, if not the first, Christian missionaries, and his life is celebrated to this day. St. Patrick's Day became a national holiday in1903 in Ireland by law. It's celebrated on March 17th, the day St. Patrick is believed to have died. The reason we wear green on St. Patrick's day is because green is the color that represented the Christian population in Ireland. The reason people today traditionally drink a lot on St. Patrick's day to celebrate is because of a law that ordered all pubs in Ireland to be closed for the holiday. This law wasn't repealed until the 1970's

So now you know a bit about St. Patrick and why the holiday even exists. It can be considered an Irish or Christian holiday, but many people worldwide celebrate it today.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:53:27 +0000

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