The Legend of Saint Patrick

 

“After two challenging years around the world due to Covid, Ireland has cleared the way for its first full public celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in two years.  As we prepare with excitement to celebrate this special day, and with an extra bank holiday on March 18th to recover, we look back at the legend of St. Patrick.”

St. Patrick’s Day is held to honour St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who died on March 17th in the 5th century. This Irish national holiday has grown into a celebration of Irish heritage and culture. Parades are held all over the world to celebrate this special day. It is a day when people worldwide wear green and march in honour of their Irishness. A day to Eat, Drink, Dance, and Sing to all things Irish.

St. Patrick was born in Britain. At the age of 16, St. Patrick was taken prisoner by Irish Pirates who attacked his family home. He was brought to Ireland and kept in captivity for six years. St. Patrick escaped after six years when he heard the voice of God in his dreams telling him it was time to leave Ireland. Once he escaped Ireland and returned home, he had another vision from an angel telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. So St. Patrick began studying to become a priest. 

 

Fifteen years later, he returned to Ireland to help spread the teachings of Christianity. Recognizing the history of spiritual practices already in place, nature-oriented pagan rituals were also incorporated into church practices. St. Patrick supported church officials throughout his missionary work, created councils, founded monasteries, and organized Ireland into dioceses. 

 

The legend of Saint Patrick has evolved during the 1500-odd years since the missionary brought Christianity to Ireland. Here are some of the most talked-about stories of St. Patrick.

 

St. Patrick Myths and Legends

 

The Shamrock

St. Patrick used the Shamrock to explain the idea of the Holy Trinity, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. This is how the Shamrock became the unofficial emblem of Ireland.

 

The Celtic Cross

St. Patrick is credited with drawing a Christian (or Latin) cross through the circle, and blessing the stone. In this way, it is said, he created the first Irish Celtic Cross and showed willingness to adopt heathen practices and symbols to Christian beliefs in order to ease the transition from pagan to Christian.

 

Blackbirds on Croagh Patrick

St Patrick spent the forty days of Lent (the Christian period of fasting or self-denial before Easter) on a mountain in County Mayo. The mountain is now known as Croagh Patrick.

Banishing the Snakes

Probably as famous as the story of the Shamrock is the legend of Saint Patrick driving all the snakes of Ireland into the sea where they drowned.

SOURCES

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick History

Saint Patrick’s Day

Who was Saint Patrick

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