Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Saint Patrick was really English, or a Scot.  Depending upon where you look, you can locate him early in life in at least one of those countries but sworn to be his land of origin.

Supposedly, Patrick converted all of Ireland to Christianity.  (He supposedly, ran all the snakes out of Ireland, too!)

Sometime around the year 406 Patrick was kidnapped from his home by Irish raiders, taken back to Ireland as a slave, more or less, and made a shepherd.  He was 16 years of age.

After six years in captivity, Patrick reportedly heard a voice telling him it was time to leave Ireland.  He walked some 200 miles to the Irish coast and escaped to England.  A second voice then tells him he must return to Ireland as a missionary. He entered religious training which lasted some fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest the church sent him back to Ireland to minister to Irish Christians already living in Ireland and  to convert as many Irish non-Christians as he could.  History teaches us that Patrick did NOT introduce Christianity to Ireland. 

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life. -- SOURCE:   

"Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated annually on 17 March, the death date of the most commonly-recognised patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461).

Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services, and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption."

Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world; especially in Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. -- SOURCE:

Enjoy Saint Patrick's Day!

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