St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many countries right across the world, and here in Melbourne there is no escaping from it.
Green decorations line the shops, people gather in crowded pubs, and the symbol of the three-leafed clover is ingrained in our heads.
But what do all of these things have to do with St Patrick? And who was he?
Here are ten facts to spruce up your knowledge on the popular saint for this annual celebration:
- St Patrick was a missionary who is believed to have brought Christianity to Ireland.
- While St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he was actually born in Roman Britain!
- St Patrick was said to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland – but considering there’s no evidence to show that snakes existed there (due to the cool climate), it is believed that the “snakes” were a reference to evil, or to pagan beliefs and practices at the time.
- St Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat (pronounced “may-win sue-cat”).
- In his adolescence St Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland, where he spent several years as a slave herding sheep.
- After returning to Britain, St Patrick had a vision that the people of Ireland appealed to him in a letter to come back and walk among them. This vision, along with a dream from God which enabled his escape from Ireland, prompted his priestly studies.
- St Patrick used the shamrock, or more commonly known as the “three leafed clover”, to preach about the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Despite his well-known name, it is sometimes debated whether St Patrick really is a saint, because he hasn’t been officially canonised by the Catholic Church in Rome. He was instead declared a saint by a bishop in Ireland at the time, when modern canonisation processes did not exist.
- St Patrick’s attire was coloured blue, even though the colour green is associated with St Patrick’s Day. The origin of the green symbolism is debated, although some say it has come from the shamrock or from the greenness of the Irish countryside.
- St Patrick died on March 17 in the fifth century AD. This date is now celebrated as St Patrick’s Day, which is commonly used to celebrate Irish culture and tradition.
Now with your new-found knowledge on St Patrick, go out and spread the word – and have a wonderful, safe and happy St Patrick’s Day with family and friends!