SAINT PATRICK´S DAY
DATE: March 17th (Date of St. Patrick's death in 493)
Maewyn was born to a wealthy farming family in Wales, 387 A.D. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by pirates, carried off to Ireland, sold as a slave, and put to work tending pigs. During his six years of slavery, he was known as "Holy Boy" because he was always praying and talking about his Savior. As he observed the Irish worshipping idols, he had a desire to convert the Irish from their pagan ways. So when he left Ireland, he went to Europe to study religion and there he became a priest and later a bishop. In the year 431, the Pope gave him the name Patricius (Patrick) and sent him back to Ireland to spread the Christian faith. During the years Patrick was a missionary, he baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and established several schools and over 300 churches.
There are many legends about St. Patrick's kind deeds and miraculous powers. It is said that he healed sick people and drove the snakes off Ireland. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes off Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice.
CELEBRATION IN THE U.S.
Many people in the United States commemorate this day by wearing something green, the color that is traditionally associated with Ireland. Cities like New York and Boston hold large parades, and millions of shamrocks (three-leaf clovers which St. Patrick used to explain the mystery of the Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are used for decorations. Green balloons and green pennants are sold on the streets. Shops prepare green pasta, green ice cream, and green bread, and people drink green beer and Irish coffee and sing Irish songs throughout the day. It is said that Chicago even dyes its river green.