Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Did St. Patrick's Day Come About?

Today is GREEN day! I am wearing black and purple (no, I'm not emo, even though I also have a blog) and no green at all but that is beside the point. I'm not one to celebrate random holidays but I am a Curious Kathy and I like to know the why and how of things. So... 

Saint Patricks Day!


When?
17 March, unless the 17th happens to fall within Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). This happened in 1940, when it was celebrated instead on April 3, in 2008, when it was observed on 15 March. The next time this happens will not be until 2160!

Who?
Well, a guy called Patrick, obviously. It is generally accepted that Pat was born in 387 and died in 493. He is now the patron saint of Ireland, which is amusing as he only went there in the first place because he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland to be a slave. After escaping, he trained to be a priest, before going back to Ireland as a bishop to convert the Irish to Christianity.


Why the Green?
You might be surprised (like I was) to know that BLUE was the original colour associated with St. Pat. However, now green is the colour associated with him, due to the shamrock.

What is the Deal with the Shamrock?
Ah yes, the shamrock. I always thought it was to do with good fortune or something like that (I should have known better, it is afterall a SAINT day). It turns out that St. Pat used the shamrock, or clover, to explain the Trinity of God (that is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: three but also one, just like the three leaves make one shamrock) to the pre-Christian Irish. Now, the shamrock is the registered trademark of the Government of Ireland. The phrase "the wearing of the green" means to wear a shamrock.


When did it Become a Public Holiday?
St. Pat's day was officially made a public holiday in 1903. However, it is generally believed that the day has been celebrated since the 1600s. Although in much of the world St. Pat's day is celebrated in a secular fashion, in Ireland it is still a religious day for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.


So there we are, a blog post written entirely in green, with the exception of other colour words!

All my information was shamelessly taken from Wikipedia... you would be surprised at how stringent the guidelines are for contributing!