St. Patrick’s Day: A Little History

Saint Patrick Stained Glass
Photographer: Simon Carrasco
St. Patrick has his own holiday, but who was he?

No matter where your travels take you in mid-March, you’re bound to stumble into a city painted green for St. Patrick’s Day. But what is the significance of shamrocks, the color green, and who is St. Patrick?

Around A.D. 390, Patrick was born in Britain where he lived until age 16 when he was kidnapped and shipped to Ireland where he was used for slave labor. While in Ireland, Patrick developed a strong connection to God and subsequently became an ordained priest. Long after his death on March 17, 461, mythology swirled about Patrick deeming him the patron saint of Ireland.

Today on March 17th, or St. Patrick’s Day, people all over the world honor St. Patrick with celebratory shamrocks and anything colored green – including pints of beer. According to the legend, Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to followers.

Nicknamed the “Emerald Isle,” Ireland is often associated with the color green mostly due to the lush vegetation flourishing in the region year-round. Some believe the color green symbolizes luck, especially when worn on St. Patrick’s Day. So grab your favorite green outfit and head out to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration near you!

Visit for a full listing of St. Patrick’s Day parades by country, state and city.


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