While St. Patrick’s Day pays homage to Ireland, and celebrations are held in the country, many people in the United States also pay homage, especially due to the large number of Irish people who migrated to the country many years ago.
Who was St. Patrick?
St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat but changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which comes from the Latin term for ‘father figure’ following his decision to become a priest.
The celebrations on March 17 first began back in 1631, when the Church created a Feast Day in homage to St. Patrick. Having been the Patron Saint of Ireland, he died around the fifth century, which means that his passing came 12 centuries prior to the modern version of the holiday first being observed.
“We know that he was a Roman citizen, because Britain was Roman then, and then he was enslaved and taken to Ireland, where he either escaped or was released,” said Marion Casey, a clinical assistant professor of Irish Studies at New York University.
“And then he became a priest and went back to Ireland, where he had a lot of luck converting the Druid culture into Christians.”
The church associated a botanical item with St. Patrick, which is customary for all saints, as he was assigned him the symbol of the lucky shamrock.