Every March 17, people across the world don their green, get out their pinching fingers and prepare their corned beef and cabbage in observance of St. Patrick’s Day. As Baylor students return from spring break, many take solace in the St. Patrick’s Day parties that will come the weekend after the holiday. However, few know the true origins of this holiday.
Grapevine senior, Ally Moore said that even though she’s Catholic, she doesn’t necessarily know the whole story.
“I know that he was the patron saint of Ireland, but my family uses it more of a way to get together and spend time with each other than anything else,” Moore said. “I have a test that day so I won’t be celebrating too much.”
Originally a day of feast celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day festivities today are a far cry from what they once were. What many don’t know is that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was a British native who was kidnapped by Irish pirates at around the age of 16. He escaped his captors six years later and returned to Britain. In his adulthood Patrick returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He died on March 17, 461 A.D., but it wasn’t until later that he was honored as the patron saint of Ireland.
There are many legend that have shaped the various ways people celebrate the holiday today. For example, St. Patrick’s Day is often symbolized by the shamrock, a three-leafed clover. This tradition was bred out of a lesson St. Patrick taught explaining the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of the clover. The Irish then began to wear shamrocks as a symbol of their Irish-Christian pride, which later grew into wearing of green on the holiday.
Sierra Vista, Ariz., freshman, Becca Rose said she had never heard the legend of St. Patrick, but that the holiday is one of her favorites.
“I always wear green because I don’t want to get pinched,” Rose said, “But I never knew it was because of the Trinity. I do always love going to the parades.”
The traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t start in Ireland, but right here in America. After the Irish potato famine, thousands of Irish immigrants came to America and the tradition of St. Patrick’s day took off.
Since then, the unique traditions of St. Patrick’s Day have drawn in the Irish and the Irish-at-heart. Americans flood McDonald’s to get their Shamrock Shakes, attend parades with their friends and scout out that one unlucky soul who forgot to wear green.