NSPA Hall of Fame Newspaper

The Charger

NSPA Hall of Fame Newspaper

The Charger

NSPA Hall of Fame Newspaper

The Charger

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History of Saint Patrick’s Day

History+of+Saint+Patricks+Day

We all can recognize Saint Patrick’s Day for the shades of green that are worn amongst society and people, or the excuse to pinch your friend when they don’t show up in green for the day. Shamrocks and leprechauns are seen as the representing theme all day by everyone. But what truly started this holiday? What is the true origin of Saint Patrick’s Day?

            Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious, cultural holiday that is taken place on March 17th which is the traditional death date of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick was known to be one of Ireland’s patron saints, in which began the uprising tradition of this traditional celebration. It was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is looked upon by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day recognizes Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Saint Patty’s also celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.

            Subsequently, who really is this Saint Patrick? Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, however, was kidnapped at 16 and taken to Ireland to work as a slave. After six years of serving as a slave, he eventually ended up escaping. Saint Patrick then came back to Ireland at around 432 CE to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17th, 461, Patrick had established monasteries, churches, and schools in Ireland. It was the emigrants, specifically to the United States, who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a largely celebrated holiday of festivities and symbolizing all things Irish. Cities that were known with large numbers of Irish immigrants, who were commonly known to wield political power, would stage the most substantial celebrations, in which included big feasts, parades, and big variety of parties. Boston was seen to hold its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, eventually followed by New York City, in 1762. Since 1962, Chicago has been coloring their namesake river green, to help acknowledge and point out the holiday.

            Now where does the whole wearing green, and shamrocks galore come from? It is said Saint Patrick used the shamrock, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. This story was first discussed in 1726 but it may be older. Academic folklorist, Jack Santino, believes that it may have represented the powers of nature, and was recast in Christian context. Meanwhile, green was associated with Ireland in the 1640s, when the green harp flag began to be used by Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks started being worn since at least the 1680s for St Patrick’s Day. From there, green has grown its association with Saint Patrick’s Day around the world. Little things like when The Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, which is an Irish fraternity, adopted green as its color in 1750. In the 1790s, green was adopted by the United Irishmen, and from there, green slowly progressed to becoming St. Patrick’s Day signature color.