Your donation will support the student journalists of Timberline High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.
The History of Saint Patrick’s Day
March 30, 2022
Did you know that Saint Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday in Ireland? The holiday has come a long way from where it started and the story behind its origins are truly fascinating. For many years the holiday wasn’t celebrated in the U.S. where some of the largest Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations are held today nor was it associated with things like Leprechauns or Shamrocks. Whether you’re Irish or not, you won’t want to miss out on the history of this well-known holiday.
According to Histoy.com it all began with the kidnapping of a 16 year old British boy in the fifth century. He had been born to wealthy parents who were attacked by Irish raiders who wanted their estate. They took the young Saint Patrick and held him as a slave for six long years in Ireland. While working, Saint
Patrick struggled to keep hope and eventually turned to religion. Upon his escape from captivity he felt the need to spread his new wealth with others and began spreading Christianity wherever he went. According to History.com he converted a large number of Irish people to Christianity and even introduced the important concept of the Holy Trinity(the father, the son, and the holy spirit). The people of Ireland cherished his work and when Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 it marked the day that the Irish would celebrate his accomplishments forever.
For a long time, the holiday stayed in Ireland and wasn’t celebrated anywhere else, but in 1845 Ireland experienced a great Potato Famine and was lacking food for citizens to eat. With nothing to eat many Irish citizens were forced to move to the U.S. to survive. For a while, many Americans made fun of the Irish because they talked with weird accents and drank a lot, this led many Irish people to hide away from the world and they didn’t embrace their culture. The Irish population however, quickly came to the realization that their growing numbers in the country allowed an abundance of political power so they created their voting block, calling it the “green machine”. Electoral candidates needed the support of the Irish-Americans so they were obliged to celebrate with and support the Irish during their Saint Patrick’s Day parades. The holiday stuck with many Americans and now many people celebrate it each year whether they are Irish or not.
Many traditions of Saint Patrick’s day are very difficult to explain, such as the tales of Leprechauns, the significance of four leaf clovers, or even the wearing of green. These things might seem as though they don’t fit together but there really is special meaning behind each one. The Shamrocks symbolize the rebirth of spring, which happens right around Saint Patrick’s Day, and when the English tried to take rule over the Irish the citizens wore shamrocks each day to show their patriotism which led to the shamrock becoming associated with the Irish. One interesting symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day is the Leprechauns, they were believed to be protectors of treasure and are magical fairies that enjoy trickery.
Saint Patrick’s Day is truly an interesting holiday that has a much deeper meaning than most might think. The holiday has come a long way from being a religious celebration in Ireland to tradition for most Americans as well. Irish or not, Saint Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate and its origins will certainly surprise any one, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Timberline!