St. Patrick’s Day

By Hawkeye Staff

Many people, when they think of St. Patrick’s Day think of little leprechauns and black pots filled with gold, few knowing the true history and meaning behind St. Patrick’s Day. The patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, St. Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. In modern culture, St. Patrick’s Day has become associated with everything Irish: luck, shamrocks, and everything green and gold. However, to those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with its intended meaning, it is a traditional day that involves spiritual renewal and prayer offerings for missionaries worldwide.

There are many theories as to why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the 17, and one of them is that the 17 is the day that St. Patrick died. As with how the day became a holiday, it is believed that as the Irish spread throughout the world, they took with them their heritage, history, and celebrations. Although St. Patrick’s Day is known worldwide, the biggest annual celebrations are obviously held in Ireland. A majority of the businesses close on the 17th, and many Irish attend mass since it is a religious holiday as well. Large celebrations are held in American cities with large Irish populations. Parades, music, green attire, Irish food and drink, and children’s activities such as food, coloring, and games are present as well. There are even certain communities in which rivers and streams are dyed green.

As far as the Leprechaun myth goes, in Irish folklore it is a tiny elf or fairy who is supposed to know the whereabouts of hidden treasure. According to most Irish legends, if a person is able to capture a leprechaun and threatens it may be able to persuade it to reveal the location of the hidden treasure, usually a pot of gold.