St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish?!
On March 17, people of all backgrounds will honor the Irish, celebrating with parades, feasts, green attire and good cheer. Originating in Ireland as a religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a worldwide celebration.
Many people are not aware, however, that St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish, but a Roman-Briton missionary born in England. He didn’t have an easy life; he was abducted by Irish brigands at the young age of 16 and sold into slavery. Escaping six years later, Patrick had the notion that he would preach Christianity to the Irish, and did exactly that for roughly 30 years.
He died on March 17, A.D. 461, which became recognized as St. Patrick’s Day.
A few facts about the green holiday:
♣ The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York City in 1762. Irish soldiers serving in the U.S. Revolutionary War marched to reconnect with their Irish roots.
♣ The color originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue, but switched to green in the 19th century.
♣ The Chicago River is dyed green for the occasion with a special dye that only lasts a few hours. Click here to watch a stop motion video of the transformation by Anthony Stewart.
♣ The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.
♣ The original Irish name for the leprechaun of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”