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Chieftain Press

What Really is St. Patrick’s Day?

Kristina MacLure, Contributor

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Does anyone really know what St. Patrick’s day is all about? Or are we just in it for the drinks and the parades? March 17th is a day that is thought to be filled with luck and all things green. Kids try to catch leprechauns in their homemade traps to snatch a few gold coins and sit in clover patches attempting to find that lucky one with four leaves.

Kali Cook, a Junior, stated that, “since green is my favorite color, every year I go all out in green clothes. The funniest memory of St. Patrick’s Day I have is when I was in 6th grade and I told my mom I didn’t believe in Leprechauns anymore. So she made a mess in my room. She put tiny little foot prints in paint on the floor and everything. She had me fooled for about a week. I left traps all over the house. I told her I was going to be rich…what a let down.” But do kids, students and other people who celebrate St. Patricks Day really know the significance of this day? Why it is considered lucky? Why does everyone wear green?

First, start from the beginning.

The “Apostle of Ireland”, better known as St. Patrick, started out in the pagan religion (today, the most popular religion in Ireland is Christianity). His early life is not well known because of it being lost to folklore. Letters revealed that he had been captured in Wales, Scotland and then sent to Ireland as a slave. He escaped a few years later and returned to his family who was living in Britain at the time. He returned to Ireland for mission work and eventually converted to Christianity. By the 600’s, he was considered the Patron St. of Ireland.

The symbols we see today that represent St. Patrick’s Day are the shamrock, the Irish flag, leprechauns, and the shillelagh. The shamrock is a symbol because it was said that St. Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. “The three-leafed plant coincided with the Pagan religion’s sanctity of the number three and is the root of the green color theme” (Wilstar.com). And, according to History by Zim, the color green is most popular on this day because of the Irish flag, which contains the colors green, white and orange.

Overall, St. Patrick’s day is a very religious holiday, yet it is still celebrated by all. Tom Bunnell, also a junior, said “Even though my family is Irish, we usually don’t go over the top to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We usually just go out to dinner and have something Irish like a potato. But don’t forget about getting a Shamrock Shake. That’s the best part of my St. Patrick’s Day. My mom makes homemade Soda Bread which is really good fresh out of the oven. To me, since I don’t follow any traditions, it is more of just a day to have fun. It gives people an excuse to go out and have a good time…” St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated differently by all. There are parades in large cities like Boston and New York every year with alcoholic drinks dyed green and gold coins from those sneaky little leprechauns. But in Ireland, there are religious services and dinners. No matter how it is celebrated, St. Patrick’s Day is recognized all over the world.

 

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What Really is St. Patrick’s Day?