St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world by Irish and non-Irish alike. Today, the holiday is seen as an excuse to wear green clothes, eat corned beef, drink green beverages and maybe get a little rowdy.
On Monday, millions of people honored St. Patrick’s Day with parades and parties. New York City hosted the oldest annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and had about 200,000 participants. In the Windy City, the Chicago River was dyed emerald green. Other cities across the country hosted their own parades and parties.
The holiday is worth celebrating, but for more reasons than just sporting Irish pride.
St. Patrick didn’t become the patron saint of Ireland because he was lucky. His story is an inspiration to everyone, including college students suffering from the “post-spring-break-blues.”
Though St. Patrick is an Irish icon, he was actually born in Britain, more than 1,500 years ago. When he was 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish marauders and taken back to Ireland where he was sold as a slave. While in captivity he worked as a shepherd and converted to Christianity.
After six years, Patrick escaped and returned to his home in Britain. However, he received a vision instructing him to return to Ireland and minister to the people there. Though Patrick faced opposition from many of the pagan groups, he converted many Irish to Christianity and built schools and monasteries.
According to legend, Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to illustrate the Trinity to the Irish pagans. Because of this story, the 18th century Irish people began wearing shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day to show their pride. This tradition eventually evolved into wearing green clothing.
The holiday is celebrated on March 17, which is supposedly the day Patrick died. It was made an official Christian feast day and a national public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Patrick’s success had nothing to do with luck. His strong faith, patience, perseverance and dedication helped him accomplish so much. He overcame many adversities and his deeds are still celebrated more than a thousand years later.
So next year, don’t hesitate to sport some green and have some fun on St. Patrick’s Day. Remember the holiday’s true meaning. And don’t hesitate to take a leaf (or a shamrock) out of St. Patrick’s book.