By Mikhail Stephenson, staff writer
Understanding St. Patrick’s Day
“Tell me what you know about St. Patrick’s Day and what it is about,” I said to my friend Cal Stephenson. “Well, I know that people wear green. Um, it came from Irish people. Some people get drunk and people pinch others when they don’t wear green. That’s all I know man.”
Shamrocks? Check. Green clothes, hair, food, and drink? Check. Pinching anyone who doesn’t wear green and celebrating. Check, check, checkity-check. However, is that all St. Patrick’s Day is about? It’s time to find the origin of this day and find out where, how and why it was created.
St. Patrick was born in the town Banna Venta Verniae with the name Maewyn Succat. The town was in Roman Britain. His father, Calpurnius, was a deacon in the early Christian church. When Maewyn was sixteen, he was captured by a pack of Irish pirates and enslaved for six years as a shepherd. During those years, he learned the Irish culture and language. He tried to escape but it was futile. He has captured again, but by the French and was taken to France where he learned of monasticism. He was then released and sent home to Britain where he continued to study Christianity.
In 432 AD he went back to Ireland and acted as a missionary to the Irish. While Maewyn was there on Ireland, he confronted the pagan Druids at Tara and abolished their rituals. Maewyn became a bishop, and after his death, he became Ireland’s patron saint. The celebration for St. Patrick was not tremendously celebrated until the Irish immigrated to the U.S.
More than one million Irish immigrated to the U.S due to the Great Potato Famine in 1845. There, the Irish faced prejudice for their Catholic beliefs and accents by Protestant Americans who despised them, portraying them as monkeys when they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a drunken revel. The Irish were humiliated, but soon after learned that with combined strength, they could change the way they were perceived socially and politically.
Today, through the efforts of both St. Patrick and the Irish immigrants of the past, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Hopefully, through this article, you can celebrate knowing the truth about St.Patrick’s Day. Have a great celebration!