St Patrick’s Day is most probably the most internationally recognised saints day in the world and what began as a celebration of the most renowned patron saint of Ireland is now a festival of all things Irish.
Across the world and especially in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, on one day of the year, everyone dons their green attire and a sea of shamrocks descend on the streets for one big party.
The all important date is March 17th, and on this day of the year it seems that wherever you were born you magically become Irish for 24 hours.
But who was St Patrick? Who is this man for whom we all go out and get ridiculously drunk? Well, St Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th Century to a wealthy Romano-British family and went on to spread the word of Christianity through Ireland.
He is held in the highest esteem by the Church of Ireland and cleverly used the shamrock to teach the Irish about the Holy Trinity using its three leaves as a symbol and managed to convert a lot of people to Christianity. St Patrick died on the 17th March 461AD and that is the date we now use to celebrate his life.
St Patrick’s Day has been celebrated for centuries and in the early 20th century it became an official public holiday in Ireland and soon after another law was introduced which meant all bars and pubs had to be closed on the 17th March.
This law was introduced because the drinking got out of hand, but don’t you worry, this law was repealed (that is reversed to you and me) in the 1970s and now the 17th March is one of the best nights out of the year, wherever you are. I mean, can you imagine St Patrick’s Day without the inevitable hangover the morning after?
Here is another little fact for you. When you think of St Patrick’s Day the first thing that comes to mind is green, however, the original colour that was associate with St Patrick was blue! But if you step out the door on St Patrick’s Day and you aren’t wearing any green then you will look like a burke, trust me.
And whilst I am here let me quell a myth, St Patrick did not rid Ireland of snakes as some people are told. There are no records of any snakes ever being on the Emerald Isle and it is more likely a metaphor for druid and pagan religions that gradually disappeared thanks to St Patrick spreading Christianity. And, sorry to go off on a tangent here but this one really annoys me, whilst we are on the topic of saints I might as well clear this one up too; St George did not kill the last dragon. In fact, at no point in his life did he kill any dragons. Dragons don’t exist and never have existed; like unicorns, fairies and Jeff Goldblum.