My family never celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day at home, but I did in public elementary school. We were taught that it was all about lucky charms, leprechauns, pots of gold at the ends of rainbows, and the color green. We made sure to wear green to school on March 17th so that we wouldn’t get pinched.
When I was older, I thought it was just a holiday that people used as an excuse to get drunk and act wild. As an adult, I heard that Saint Patrick was actually a Christian man, and like many other religious holidays, St. Patrick’s Day had strayed far from its original meaning.
I still didn’t know the truth behind St. Patrick’s Day until I was teaching my kids about it!
Irish and St. Patrick’s Day Resources
St. Patrick of Ireland: A BiographyPatrick: Patron Saint of IrelandSaint Patrick: Pioneer Missionary to IrelandReal Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes from the Old CountryIrish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland’s HeritageThe History of Ireland
About Saint Patrick’s Day
The history curriculum, The Mystery of History, tells us how Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the fifth century and was kidnapped at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland as a slave. He later escaped, but as a Christian, he chose to return to Ireland to bring the Gospel to an otherwise superstitious and ungodly country.
Legend has it that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), using the three leaves of the native Irish clover, the shamrock. He is believed to have died on March 17th, 461, hence the reason behind the date and celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
I find it interesting that up until the 1970’s, pubs were to be closed on St. Patrick’s Day as mandated by the Irish law to observe the religious holiday held in remembrance of a Christian saint.
In fact, from about the 9th century on, the day was observed with a Roman Catholic feast in Ireland and it wasn’t until 1762 that the holiday became more than a solemn way to remember a godly man who spread the Gospel throughout Ireland, when Irish-Americans held the first parade on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City.
Sadly, as with most religious holidays, greed and the desire for worldly gain overshadowed the true meaning behind the occasion.
In 1995, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourists to the country and now one million people take part in the celebration in Dublin, Ireland. The day is marked with parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows… and has nothing to do with who Saint Patrick truly was.
So, have your St. Patrick’s Day feast, but this year take the time to learn who you are celebrating and why!
Simple & Authentic Irish Food Menu
Beef/lamb stew OR roast with potatoes, carrots, etc.