Things You Didn't Know About St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Peter Monticup on 3/17/2013 to Monticup Speaks
St Patricks Day Button from

A button for you to cut out and wear!

St. Patrick's Day celebrates the patron saint of Ireland. He is mainly known for converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, for popularizing the shamrock as a symbol of faith and good fortune, and for making people proud to be Irish (or at least pretend to be Irish!) on March 17 every year. And he did magic!

But there are a few things you may not know about St. Patrick.

Apparently, thanks to St Patrick, there are no snakes in Ireland. Probably the most famous legend of Saint Patrick tells of how he drove all the snakes of Ireland into the sea where they drowned. Of course, there never were any snakes in Ireland! The story is symbolic rather than literal. The snake was an important sacred symbol to the Druids, so "ridding the island of snakes" really means ridding Ireland of pagan ritual.

St. Patrick's Day marks the death date of the saint, not his birthdate. He lived a very long life, though, surviving into his 90's.

And why is this saint's day celebrated with parties and alcohol? That's because although St. Patrick's Day usually falls within Lent, the Church has traditionally lifted the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol for this day. Party!

It's also a tradition to invite lucky kisses, similar to the mistletoe on Christmas. Go ahead and cut out this button, pin it on- and see if you can get some kisses today!

By the way, St. Patrick used a magic trick to convert the largest group of pagans on the island. The Celtic feast of Beltaine was celebrated at the start of summer by lighting hundreds of small fires, all lit directly from a main fire lit by the King himself. One year, St. Patrick lit a large fire in advance of the King, thus challenging the authority of the monarch. St. Patrick had rigged the fire using a little-known magic trick, making it impossible to put out the fire using normal methods. The King was convinced that St. Patrick had some powerful mojo, and agreed to allow him to continue his mission to convert the pagans of Ireland to Christianity.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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