History of St. Patrick’s Day

Submitted by: Collin Pike 

Spring is right around the corner.  This upcoming season is full of sunshine, long days, and it marks the beginning of warmer weather.  With having so much to look forward to, what better way to transition into Spring then with celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?  When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, the things that come to mind are shamrocks, leprechauns, Ireland, parades, and wearing green.  But, have you ever asked yourself why we even celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the first place?

Maewyn Succat, better known as Saint Patrick, was a Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland during the 5th century.  He was known as the “Apostle of Ireland” and is the primary patron saint of Ireland.  At a young age he was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  He considered his kidnapping a punishment due to his lack of faith in God.  After successfully escaping and returning to his family, he decided to devote his life to baptizing people, establishing monasteries, building churches, and spreading Christianity throughout Ireland.  He is said to have passed away of natural causes on March 17th, 461 AD.

St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and is based around families worshiping and spending time together.  Although the first official holiday celebration was held in New York City during 1762, one of the earliest records of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day was not in Ireland, but was in St. Augustine, Florida during the 1600s.  St. Patrick’s Day is not a federal holiday in the U.S. and is mainly based around celebrating the Irish-American culture.  With that being said, it is considered a legal holiday in both Suffolk County, Massachusetts and Savannah, Georgia.

What began as a religious celebration has now transitioned into a secular celebration of all things Irish.  Whether you are commemorating a fallen Patron, or celebrating with your Irish buddies, be sure to remember that we would not be celebrating if it wasn’t for good ole Saint Patrick!