16 March 2008

St Patrick's Day: yesterday or tomorrow?

March the 17th is St Patrick's Day, patron saint of Ireland. However, due to Easter falling early officially the feast of St Patrick should have been celebrated yesterday. Saint's days are not supposed to happen in Holy Week as focus should be on Jesus (today Palm Sunday). Despite this I'm sure the Irish will use it as an excuse to quaff a few Guinness's on both days.

Here's a list of 10 facts about St Patrick's Day:

  • St Patrick was born in Britain
  • When he was about 16 he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland but later escaped.
  • When he returned home he joined the church (as his father and grandfather had done), becoming a deacon and a bishop.
  • He returned to Ireland as a missionary to spread the word of God and is credited as bring Catholicism to Ireland.
  • Due to early Christian Saints being canonised by canonisations were done on the diocesan or regional level, so St Patrick was never canonised by a pope.
  • Legend has it that St Patrick banish all snakes from Ireland (though there were no snakes there after the last ice age.
  • Many believe the snakes may have referred to pagan symbols used by druids and it was Pelagianism that St Patrick banished.
  • It is thought St Patrick used the shamrock to teach the idea of the Holy Trinity to the Irish, the three leafed shamrock becoming the symbol of Ireland.
  • St Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Irish all around the world and secular cultures are getting in on the act too, where it's popular in, amongst other places Canada and Australia where people eat Irish food, wear green (or orange), party and drink plenty of Guinness or Irish whiskey.
  • The largest St. Patrick's Day parade is held in New York City and it is watched by over 2 million spectators.

No comments: