What began as a simple day for the religious Irish population to feast in honor of their patron saint, is now an international festival where everyone celebrates what they believe to be Irish culture. St Patrick’s Day is now hosted on March 17th every year, carried on the shoulders of parades, dances, special foods and a shock of green. There is also a worldwide understanding that this one day a year is lucky to those who celebrate it. But where does this belief of luck come from? Where does the obsession with green come from? Where does the story actually begin?
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Patrick…
Did you know that St Patrick wasn’t an Irishman? He was actually British, born in the Roman Empire during the 5th century and kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen. As a poor, imprisoned teenager, he then spent six years in captivity before finally escaping back to Britain at the age of 22. Showing a backbone of bravery, Patrick returned to his place of captivity after he’d converted to Christianity, believing it was his calling to show the Irish the way of God by becoming a missionary.
There is a story behind St Patrick’s past, saying that he stood on a mountain top and used a staff blessed by God to rid the island of snakes. This, however, it just symbolism since Ireland was never home to any snakes; the snakes represent Paganism, driven out by St Patrick’s Christian teachings.
St Patrick died on March 17th, 461, which is why his day of honor is held on that very day every year.
The Saint’s trinity.
Now to understand the three main symbols of our modern-day celebrations – the green clothing, the shamrock and the marches.
It all started when St Patrick used a shamrock (a three-leafed clover) to explain the holy trinity; each leaf represented one of the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son. When he did this, Irishmen started to wear shamrocks as charms to display their Christian pride and belief, which then progressed into decking themselves in green clothing. Older believers thought these charms would help them see dark spirits coming their way, giving them time to get away; expanding from this, they believed the extra leaf on the four-leafed clover represented the hand of God and warded off dark spirits altogether. You are also said to be lucky if you find a four-leafed clover since they grow as just one in every 10,000 shamrocks. The four-leafed clover has become lucky in the eyes of the world since then, explaining why the shamrock and the luck are current aspects of St Patrick’s Day.
The marches however, didn’t begin until 1762, when a small group of Irish friends who had emigrated to New York marched to a tavern to celebrate their patron saint. Today, the New York parade has grown from four or five men to over 200,000 participants with 3 million spectators. It is safe to say that the New York parade has come a long way and their love for the Irish is as bright as their technicolor clothing.
“The Luck O’ the Irish!”
Why not use this day of luck to your advantage? St Patrick’s Day falls on the threshold of Spring, when the majority of house sales begin their viewings, so on March 17th go in search of your dream home. You never know, you might just find it. We would be delighted to help you, so get in touch with any questions or requests you may have, using any of the contact information on our website: www.enlightenea.co.uk/contacts or call 0121 249 0783