The History of St. Patricks Day


Adam Selwood

St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th of every year and celebrated by many.

Sabrina McCranels, Staff Writer

As we fight through the third quarter of the year, spring break is right around the corner and so is my second favorite holiday. 

A day that’s filled front to back with different parades where it isn’t unusual to see a leprechaun. A day where you can’t wear gold or the leprechauns will steal it for their pot at the end of the rainbow. A day filled with laughter and extravagant green outfits. A day filled with celebration and of course a great meal of corn beef, cabbage, and potatoes at the end of it all.

St. Patrick’s Day derives from the death of Saint Patrick, an apostle of Ireland, over 1,000 years ago. We use the day to celebrate his life and his success in spreading Christianity to the people of Ireland. Surprisingly that’s probably the most ordinary thing about his life but, you know, spreading religion isn’t the way most people go through.

He was born on a small island that many historians can’t pinpoint but rather a vague realm of all of Europe and from other occurrences of his life, maybe Britain. He grew up in a higher-middle class household that surprisingly didn’t put an emphasis on religion or education like many higher-middle class families did and still, today do. But here comes the interesting part, when he was 16, St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish Pirates, brought to Ireland, and sold as a slave. He was held in captivity where he herded sheep for 6 years until one night he had a dream that sparked his religious journey.

Historians claim that escaping slavery came to St. Patrick in a dream, many believing that it was the word of God that had convinced him he’d be able to connect with his family once again. Once he escaped he got on a boat and they sailed to France. He walked for 200 miles until he settled down there. He then studied and entered the priesthood under the missionary Saint Germain. From there his vision of spreading Christianity to Ireland became a promise. 

He died on March 17th, 461 A.D. and now we celebrate the day he died. 

Of course, St. Patrick’s Day has changed over the years especially from country to country. The holiday stayed mainly religious for most of the 20th century. Irish families went to mass in the morning then hung out with family and bent the rules of lent for the day. Later the holiday becomes less and less religiously bound especially in America. Senior, Marisa McClung talks about how she and her family celebrate.

“It’s normally a day we spend as a family and usually the Saturday before we go as a family, including the dogs, to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade and go out to eat,” says McClung.