The history and traditions of Saint Patrick in Ireland

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Scotland or Wales around AD 385. He was in the family of the Calpurnius and Conchessa and his given name was Maewyn Succat and the family had roman roots. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery by a group of Irish intruders that raided his village. During his captivity, he worked as a shepherd and came closer to God. He escaped after six years from the captivity and after undertaking an adventurous trip back home.

Back in Britain, Maewyn's dreams continued, a man named Victorious came to him with letters from Ireland in his vision. According to Maewyn, as he read the beginning of that letter he thought that at the same moment he heard their voice as they cry out with one mouth: 'We ask thee, boy, come and walk among us once more.' He journeyed to France where he studied a monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre and began preparing himself for the priesthood for a period of twelve years. At this point of time he changed his name from Maewyn to Patrick. During the course of his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the non believers to Christianity. Patrick was appointed as second bishop to Ireland.

Saint Patrick was a very successful and charming personality for the process of conversion. Due to his success at the conversions, Patrick was arrested and looted many times, but he somehow escaped the wrath each time. For his mission Patrick traveled throughout Ireland for many years establishing monasteries across the country. Beside that he was instrumental in the setting up of several schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. Patrick worked in Ireland approximately for thirty years and after that, he retired to County Down. St. Patrick died on March 17 in AD 461.

Tradition includes the belief that Saint Patrick raised people from the dead. He also is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock and this tradition also has its roots from Irish tale that tells us how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity during the sermons. The custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day came into existence through his followers later on.

To commemorate this day St. Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide mainly by the Irish people and many of non-Irish descent usually in Australia, North America, and Ireland also take part in it whole heartedly. Celebrations in the St. Patrick's Day are generally themed around all things green and Irish. This day is celebrated by the Christians and non-Christians at the same spirit by wearing green or orange clothes, eating Irish food or green foods, drinking Irish drink and attending parades. The tradition of parade came to existence in the 19th century.

This holiday remains a religious observance in Ireland for both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Church till date. St. Patrick's Day became a feast day in the Roman Catholic Church due to the influence of the Luke Wadding in the early 17th century and it is a holy day of commitments for Roman Catholics in Ireland. The date of the feast sometimes moved by church authorities due to falling of March 17 in the Holy Week; once it happened in the year 1940, when Saint Patrick's Day was observed on 3 April to avoid coinciding with Palm Sunday, and soon it will happen again in the year 2008, when it will be held on 15 March for being in the second day in Holy Week.

One of the reasons for becoming popular of the St. Patrick's Day might be that it usually celebrated just a few days before the first day of spring or it might signifies the first green of spring season.

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