ST. PATRICK'S DAY
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity his life remains somewhat of a mystery.
Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling because there were never any snakes in Ireland
He wasn't even the first evangelist to Ireland (Palladius had been sent in 431, about five years before Patrick )
Patrick isn't even Irish. He's from what's now Dumbarton, Scotland (just northwest of Glasgow).
Patrick was 16 years old in about the year 405 when he was captured in a raid and became a slave in what was still radically pagan Ireland. Far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager. Even though his grandfather had been a priest and his father a town councilor, Patrick "knew not the true God." Forced to tend his master's sheep in Ireland, he spent his six years of bondage mainly in prayer. He escaped at the suggestion of a dream and returned home (now in his mid-40s)
Palladius had not been very successful in his mission and the returning former slave replaced him. Intimately familiar with the Irish clan system (his former master, Milchu, had been a chieftain), Patrick's strategy was to convert chiefs first who would then convert their clans through their influence.
Reportedly, Milchu was one of his earliest converts.
Though he was not solely responsible for converting the island, Patrick was quite successful. He made missionary journeys all over Ireland, and it soon became known as one of Europe's Christian centers. This, of course, was very important to fifth-century Christians, for whom Ireland was one of the "ends of the earth."
Saint Patrick's Day is a yearly holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (circa AD 387461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It began as a purely Catholic holiday and became an official feast day in the early 1600s. It has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Ireland's culture.
The history of St Patrick's Day
Below is a calendar for the next several years that shows what day of the week St. Patrick's Day falls on.
TUESDAY - March 17 2009
WEDNESDAY - March 17 2010
THURSDAY - March 17 2011
SATURDAY - March 17 2012
SUNDAY - March 17 2013
MONDAY - March 17 2014
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY TO ALL OF YOU WHO CELEBRATE IT