Once a year an Irish tide of green-goers swell the streets to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. For Americans, the holiday consists mostly of fun and games - and, yes, lots of drinking! But in Ireland, Saint Patrick's day is a time where Irishmen recognize the importance of the Patron Saint of Ireland for his role in bringing Ireland out of the dark ages of pageantry.
So take the time, grab your favorite loaf of traditional Irish bread, and indulge "5 Things You Need to Know About the Patron Saint of Ireland on St. Patrick's Day."
Little Patrick was born to a prominent Roman family within the English providence during the 15th century. During his youth he was kidnapped by Irish marauders and forced into slavery.
"I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity to Irelandwith many thousands of people---and deservedly so, because we turned away from God.." - Confession of St. Patrick
Patrick served an Irish Cheiftan as Shepherd for 7 years. During this time Patrick's self-confidence, and faith in God, grew beyond measure. Eventually, Patrick would escape slavery and earn his passage back to England where he was reunited with his estranged family. But Patrick felt he had no time to enjoy his newfound freedom; against his family's' dire wishes, Patrick devoted his life to God. His heart dream was to return to Ireland as a Christian Bishop and redeem the people on the island that once served as his prison.
Folklore claims that when Saint Patrick returned to Ireland, he drove his staff into the ground and all the Snakes on the Ireland fled by swimming into the ocean. Modern Scientist contest the reality behind the myth, and suggest Snakes were never on Ireland due to the effects of the last ice age. When the statement is analyzed more figuratively than literally, the Snakes most likely represented the pagans whom were persistently threatened by Saint Patrick's missionary antics.
There was no welcoming party for Saint Patrick upon his, unlikely, return to Ireland. Legends attest that Saint Patrick survived as many as 12 assassinations attempts against his life. And herein lies Saint Patrick's greatness: Only armed with God's word, Saint Patrick achieved the unthinkable: he converted an island of barbarian pagans against all contemporary naysayers.
The Patron Saint of Ireland could never quite quench his burning desire to convert pagans. One night, Saint Patrick took on the High King of Ireland ( which was the pagan/druid overlord ) by burning a fire so large and bright that not even the King's' best magic could extinguish it. Only St. Patrick, anointed with the power of a greater God, could vanquish the holy fire to the amazement of his audience. After earning the respect of the pagan overlord, Saint Patrick plucked a three leaf cover to demonstrate the power of the Christian trinity: father, son and holy spirit. Whether the story is myth or fact, the Clover represents his most successful conversion which changed the tides of Ireland forever.
Besides leaving behind a legacy of green-beer induced shenanigans ( something the real Saint Patrick would not have endorsed ), he also left us his autobiography: Confessions of Saint Patrick. In this short autobiographical work an elderly Saint Patrick reflects on his intense life struggles, insatiable faith in God, and his love of Ireland and it's peoples. Within his Confessions, St. Patrick claims that he converted thousands of Irishmen whom would become the underpinnings to a new Irish-Christian nation. The Patron Saint of Ireland is widely celebrated, throughout the world, as the christian harbinger in forming today's modern Ireland.