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Who Was St. Patrick?

You know the saying that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day?  Well turns out he wasn’t.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

We all head out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but does anyone actually know why?  Does anyone even know who the guy was?  Most people do not.  So this is where I come in to lay some information down for you.  Did you know that he wasn’t actually Irish?  That’s right, he was British.  He was captured by the Irish when he was a teenager, but got free and returned to England where he became a Priest.  After that he went back to Ireland where he spent the rest of his life preaching and converting Irish people to Christianity.

Now one of the biggest misconceptions is that green is the color of St. Patty’s Day.  False.  The actual color is blue, but green became very popular over the years being associated with shamrocks.  The shamrock itself was used by St. Patrick to explain the holy trinity to the pagan people of Ireland.  The holiday itself has been totally blown up around the world as day to drink your faces off.  In reality it is a religious day where most of Ireland just attends a mass to remember their patron saint.  It is a very low key holiday.  The drinking was because St. Patty’s Day takes place during the Catholic time of Lent and it was a day off from fasting, so naturally everyone went crazy.

Another big question is “Did he actually rid Ireland of snakes”?  Where as this seems like a really cool story, he did not.  As a matter of fact National Geographic said that because of Ireland’s naturally chilly temperatures there is no way that snakes could even migrate to the island.  The snakes could be a metaphor used for riding evil or pagan ways.  Take your pick.  Another interesting fact I saw in National Geographic was that 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed globally on St. Patty’s Day.

So as it turns out, we don’t actually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the way it was intended.  Instead we here in America have turned it into a day where we drink like fools and where a bunch of green.  These American traditions have spread world wide according to Philip Freeman, a Professor at Luther College in Iowa.  So grab yourself a pint of green beer at some point today and do a toast to St. Patrick instead of just slamming it as fast as you can.

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