The Myths of St. Patrick’s DayTuesday, March 23, 2010 By Jessika Hamsher
After reading various accounts of Saint Patrick’s life, I have to wonder why the Irish really celebrate him. There has been an age-old animosity between the Irish and the Brits. There have been many actual feuds and many more stories written about the Protestants of Britain persecuting the Catholics of Ireland and vice-versa. A little background… Patrick was born around 387 A.D. in Roman Britain into a wealthy family. His father and grandfather were both deacons in the Church. At age sixteen or so, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders. His new masters forced him into shepherding. Several years later, he received a vision from God telling him to flee to the coast. Patrick boarded a ship and returned to his native Britain. Around 432 A.D., Patrick again received a vision from God, telling him to Christianize the native Irish. He returned to Ireland and devoted the rest of his life to Christianizing the Irish. He is believed to have died on March 17, 461 A.D. Now to the myths… First of all, Patrick wasn’t even Irish, yet he is the patron saint of Ireland and is celebrated world-wide on March 17. Blue was the original St. Patrick’s Day color because it symbolized peace. Green did not show up until the late 1800s. No one is really sure why the change occurred. Another myth that came out of nowhere: leprechauns and pots o’ gold. These have nothing to do with the original holiday. Many believe that leprechauns and gold were originally part of Irish stories and folklore but were added in to the holiday because of commercialism. The shamrocks have some legitimacy. It is believe that Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity to the Irish during his ministry. As for shamrocks being lucky, that is just another commercialized symbol of the holiday.