The facts and fiction of St. Patrick

March 17th is the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. This day, much like Valentines Day, has an interesting history.

Although he is traditionally associated with Ireland, St. Patrick was actually born in Britain. He was brought to Ireland at the age of 16, went back to Britain and eventually returned to Ireland. He is thought to be the one who brought Christianity to Ireland.

The is most famous story about St. Patrick isn’t actually true. As part of bringing Christianity to the Emerald Isle, St. Patrick is said to have rid the island of snakes. In reality, fossil records show that Ireland is one of the few places in the world where there were no snakes of any type. While there are certainly snakes in Ireland, now, they were brought by people who kept them as pets.

There are many different traditions and myths surrounding St. Patrick’s Day. A common image is a shamrock, which is said to be a metaphor for how Patrick described the Holy Trinity.

Another tradition is to pinch people who aren’t wearing green. This tradition stems from the 19th century. In America people used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by wearing blue, but Irish people wore green. It was part of how they connected to their homeland and celebrated their heritage. The other thing stemmed from this was pinching people who weren’t wearing green. In Chicago, Ill., city leaders pour 40 pounds of green vegetable dye to turn the Chicago River green for several hours.

Remember, there is no wrong way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: wear a little green, eat corned beef,or try to catch a leprechaun. But what ever you do, remember to keep the true spirit of the day in mind, celebration and fun.