16 Interesting Facts About Saint Patrick’s Day

The 17th of March was chosen as the day for St. Patrick’s feast day as it is believed to be the day he passed away.

St. Patrick is the most well-known saint who is associated with Ireland. His feast day is celebrated worldwide and is seen as a symbol of Irish patriotism.

His legends have become part of our understanding of Ireland, and his image as a bishop with a clover is a recognizable symbol for many.

However, despite his popularity, little is known about the real man. It seems that the legend of St. Patrick has become more famous than the actual person.

Without further ado, here are 16 facts about the real St. Patrick.

St. Patrick’s real name may not have been Patrick. Although it is unclear what his birth name was, tradition states that it was Maewyn Succat. He changed his name to Patrick when he became a bishop, as it means “nobleman” in Latin.

There are surviving copies of texts written by St. Patrick. His primary sources of information are two Latin works called “Confessions” and “Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus”.

Dating St. Patrick’s life is challenging, but it is estimated that he lived during the mid-fifth century. He refers to the Frankish people as pagans in one of his works, which implies that it was written between 451 and 496.

There is a prayer called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” that is believed to have been written by St. Patrick, but scholars now reject this theory.

Nobody knows where St. Patrick was born. It is widely accepted that he was not Irish and probably came from Wales. However, his birthplace is unknown as he only mentions a place called Bannavem Taburniae in his works, which is not a known location.

St. Patrick was not the first Christian Bishop in Ireland. That title goes to the fifth-century bishop Palladius, who was sent to Ireland by the Church to convert the natives to Christianity. Some believe that Palladius was combined with St. Patrick to create his legend.

St. Patrick did not drive snakes out of Ireland. There is no evidence that Ireland ever had any snakes. The story is believed to be a metaphor for St. Patrick converting the remaining Druids to Christianity, although pagan practices continued after his death.

Most of the stories we have about St. Patrick were written long after his death. The two most commonly cited sources are “The Life and Acts of St. Patrick” by Jocelin of Furness, who wrote around 1200, and “The Most Ancient Lives of Saint Patrick” by an unknown MacEvin, who wrote his works in the ninth century.

St. Patrick only provides information about his father, Calpornius, and his paternal grandfather, Potitus. He mentions that his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest. However, later writers gave more details about his family background. According to Jocelin and MacEvin, his mother was a Frankish woman named Conceis who was related to Saint Martin of Tours. However, there is disagreement about whether she was his sister or niece.

St. Patrick does not mention having any siblings in his own writings, but Jocelin and MacEvin claim that he had a sister named Lupita. At the age of sixteen, St. Patrick was kidnapped from his home and taken to Ireland to be sold as a slave. He worked as a shepherd for six years and in his own writings, he does not mention his captor’s name, only referring to him as “the man with whom I had been for six years.”

Jocelin and MacEvin attribute many miracles to St. Patrick in his youth, but he contradicts these claims in his own writings. He admits that he did not know the true God at the time of his capture. The story that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity to the Irish pagans is a later legend and is not mentioned in any of his works.

Despite being known as the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick was never formally canonized. His recognition as a saint was based on popular opinion and likely approved by a bishop. The date of March 17th was chosen for his feast day because it was the day he is believed to have died, although the year is uncertain.

It is possible that the St. Patrick we know today is based on multiple people. While he was a real historical figure, the folklore surrounding him may have been derived from both Patrick of Wales and bishop Palladius. The two bishops were both known for their preaching and their stories may have merged over time.

FAQ

1. What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on the 17th of March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is a public holiday in Ireland and also widely celebrated in countries with large Irish populations such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

2. Why is Saint Patrick’s Day celebrated?

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. The day also celebrates Irish culture and heritage, with parades, green decorations, and traditional Irish food and drink such as corned beef, cabbage, and Guinness.

3. Why is the color green associated with Saint Patrick’s Day?

The color green is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day because it is the color of the Irish flag and also the color of the shamrock, which is a symbol of Ireland and Saint Patrick’s teachings about the Holy Trinity.

4. What are some traditional Saint Patrick’s Day foods?

Traditional Saint Patrick’s Day foods include corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, shepherd’s pie, and colcannon (a dish made of mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale).

5. What are some popular Saint Patrick’s Day traditions?

Popular Saint Patrick’s Day traditions include wearing green clothing or accessories, attending parades, drinking green beer or Guinness, and searching for leprechauns or four-leaf clovers (symbols of good luck).

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