St. Patrick’s Day is, without a doubt, one of the most important days in Ireland, if not the most. People from all over the world come to the country to celebrate this day. Also, a great deal of international cities turn their most important monuments green to show their love for this Irish festivity.
This Gobal Greening campaign, as it is called, was initiated by the Irish government. It started in Sydney and Auckland in 2010. This year, only seven years later, almost 300 monuments in 44 countries turned green, from Christ the Redeemer in Río de Janeiro to the Great Wall of China. Amazing, isn’t it?
Now, how much do you know about this saint? If you’re from Ireland, we’re pretty sure you think of drunk people in Temple Bar, shamrocks, and snakes when you hear about Paddy. However, if you’re from abroad, we guess you never stopped to think who he really was.
So…who was he?
According to history, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain at the age of 16, and brought to Ireland as a slave. Here he would become a shepherd and would look after animals. Feeling lonely and being away from his family, he turned to God looking for support and solace. After spending six years in the Emerald Isle, he heard a voice during his sleep telling him that he was going back to his home country on a boat that was waiting for him.
Once back home, he had a strange dream where a man gave him a letter from people in Ireland begging him to come back to the country. And so he did, but this time of his free will, to become a Christian apostle to the Irish people, who were mostly pagans at that time.
Back in Ireland, he started spreading the word of God, inviting people to believe in Him and do His will. Soon he became a bishop, then the patron saint of Ireland.
What’s with the shamrock and the snakes?
Tradition has it that he used to use a shamrock (not a clover!) to explain the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all in one). As for the snakes, it is said that he rid Ireland of them (although scientists claim there were not any snakes in Ireland at that time). This would have been an allegory to explain that he rid the country of the druids that were living in it.
Back to the celebrations, did you celebrate this special day? If so, how did you celebrate it? Did any of the monuments in your city turn green? Let us know in the comments!