Sunday, March 16, 2008
St. Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated each year on March 17th. In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is both a holy day and a national holiday. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because he brought Christianity to the Irish.
According to legend, Saint Patrick used a shamrock (a type of clover) to explain about God. The shamrock has three leaves on each stem. Saint Patrick told the people that the shamrock was like the idea of the Trinity – that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Although it began in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world. People with Irish heritage remind themselves of the beautiful green countryside of Ireland by wearing green and taking part in the festivities.
Saint Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated with a parade. The one in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is very famous. But the one in New York City is one of the biggest. It lasts for hours.
One tale about Patrick is that he drove the snakes from Ireland. This is a metaphor for his bringing Christianity to Ireland and driving out the pagan religions. It’s true that Ireland has no snakes, but this has to do with the fact that Ireland is an island and being separated from the rest of the continent the snakes couldn’t get there.