The 17th of March is celebrated all over the world as Saint Patrick’s Day in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick was born in England circa 385. His father, Calphurnius, was a deacon in the Church and his mother, Conchessa, was a close relative of Saint Martin of Tours.
Patrick was kidnapped as a teenager by Irish raiders. Patrick spent six years in Ireland as an indentured servant tending sheep before he escaped back to England. Patrick studied in Auxerre, France, and was consecrated as Bishop of Ireland by Pope Celestine in 431 and elected to return to Ireland as a missionary.
For thirty years, often with opposition from pagan leaders, Patrick evangelized, using the shamrock as a symbol to teach about the Holy Trinity. He baptized thousands into the Christian faith and established churches, monasteries, and schools. Patrick died in Saul, Ireland on March 17, 461, and is believed to have been buried in Ulster, County Down, Ireland.
It is believed that the first publicity celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day was in Boston in 1737 where a large number of Irish immigrants resided. The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the free state of Ireland was in Dublin in 1931.
Saint Patrick’s Day has become a universal celebration of Irish culture with the wearing of the green, consumption of corned beef and cabbage with Guinness stout, and, of course, Irish music. GK Chesterton wrote, “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, for all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”