By Paco Lopez
According to Wikipedia, St. Patrick’s Day (or the Feast of St. Patrick – The Patron Saint of Ireland) was made an official holiday in the early 17th Century in Ireland to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in the country, which was spread by the works of (real name) Maewyn Succat, who would eventually take the name “Patrick”, a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland.
Celebrations around the world include parades and festivals, and the wearing of green clothing or shamrocks. Many Christians also attend church services on that day and historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which is why many have been encouraged for centuries to consume alcohol in celebrating the day.
But, how and why did this happen?! “Patrick” was captured at the age of 16 by Irish raiders and was enslaved for years. However, his faith was strong, due largely to the fact that his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church.
He claimed that while a prisoner God spoke to him in a dream and told him that his “ship is ready”. He eventually escaped and returned home by ship. Later he also said that The Lord spoke to him again in another dream and told him that he would be “the voice of the Irish”. When he opened a letter in his dream, he heard the voices of his people in Ireland begging him to return. So he did, and began his work. After becoming a priest, he would go on to supposedly converted well over 100,000 people, established 300 churches, and consecrated 350 bishops.
“Patrick” died on March 17, 461. That is why for over a millennium, the Irish have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th each year.
And now you know….So, let’s raise a glass and happy Maewyn Succat day!
Yeah, St. Patrick’s Day sounds better.