St. Patrick’s Day … a day dedicated to the Irish, luck and drinking. Though I’m perfectly content with using St. Patricks Day as an excuse to party and wear exclusively green, the scholarly UW student in me figured maybe it was time to learn some St. Patty’s history.
One thing we need to cover right off the bat is the fact that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. The poster child of Ireland itself is not Irish, you say? Correct. Apparently, the guy was born in Roman Britain — so long ago Britain was still part of the Roman Empire — and when he was young was brought to Ireland as a slave.
St. Patrick eventually escaped slavery and was credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and for working to convert Irish men and women to his religion. St. Patrick eventually became a priest, and later a bishop. Personally, I imagine him to be rolling over in his grave every March 17 from the kind of degeneracy going on every year.
But St. Patrick was known for much more than his devotion to spreading the word of God. He has also been given credit for getting rid of all the snakes in Ireland. Which would be impressive, if snakes ever existed in Ireland.
Another fun rumor is St. Patrick once started a bonfire on Easter which could never be put out and is still burning somewhere in Ireland today.
But here’s the real kicker — St. Patrick isn’t even an official saint! To be eligible for sainthood, you first must be canonized by a pope — whatever that means — but the tradition didn’t start happening until centuries after his death.
Another not-so-fun fact is March 17 is actually the assumed date of St. Patrick’s death. Though it used to be a solemn, religious holiday, I like to think it has been corrupted in the best way. It eventually became an indulgent day for Catholics to take a break from lent by drinking and stuffing their faces.
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Leave it to the United States to create the tradition of full-fledged partying and parading. Now, at your next St. Patrick’s Day party, you’ll have some history and fun facts in your back pocket. This St. Patrick’s Day, you can party knowledgeably.