St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday we celebrate every year on March 17th, but why do we celebrate it? And who was St. Patrick anyway?
St Patrick was not Irish, he was born in Britain and was the son of a wealthy official.
At the age of sixteen when St. Patrick was only, Patrick, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders who were invading his fathers home. It was a common occurrence for the coastal homes and towns to be raided. Patrick was then taken Ireland where he was held in captivity. History.com says that Patrick was merely held in captivity and worked tending sheep while the Celtic Attic says that he was kidnapped and sold into slavery where he spent his six years in captivity working as a slave tending sheep.
So, either sold into slavery or merely held captive, it’s pretty much the same story.
During his six years of imprisonment Patrick found religion. He prayed a hundred times a day and then (his confession writings say) that he was told by God that it was time to leave Ireland. So, he escaped his imprisonment after six long years.
After walking two hundred miles and returning to Britain, Patrick was given visions, perhaps by an angel, that he must return to Ireland as a missionary. He trained for fifteen years to be a Priest and after he was ordained, at long last he returned to Ireland to minister to the Christians already in Ireland and to convert the Irish.
Most of the Irish peoples religious beliefs were pagan during the time, which revolved a lot around the elements of nature. St. Patrick set out to bring Christianity to the pagan rituals by incorporating Christianity into the traditional rituals the Irish already had, instead of trying to do away with them completely. One of these well known rituals St. Patrick was involved in was lighting a bonfire on Easter, because the Irish used fire to show honor to their gods St. Patrick did the same.
Another thing St. Patrick is known for is putting the symbol of the sun onto the Christian cross, we know this now as the Celtic cross. It is also said that St. Patrick used the shamrock (three leaved clover) to describe the holy trinity during his teachings.
St. Patrick died in Ireland where he had taught Christianity to so many. It is said that he is buried on the Hill of Down in Downpatrick. The site where he is believed to be buried had a stone marker added for him in 1901.
If you are ever in Ireland and want to see the grave of St. Patrick than it is something you are able to do because it is, indeed, a popular place for tourists to visit.