The Origin and Traditions Of St Patrick's Day. March 17th.

Songbird BStarred Page By Songbird B, 13th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1uopft7t/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

St Patrick's Day on March 17th, holds a very special place in the heart of every Irish man, woman and child. It is a time of celebration, of honouring their rich Irish Ancestry..but how and where did it first begin...? You might be surprised at what history reveals..

Maewyn Succat..The Story Begins..

On March 17th of every year, Ireland and the Irish come into their own to celebrate the religious feast of St Patrick, Patron Catholic Saint of Ireland, but who was this Saint?
My curiosity was aroused, surely it wasn't all about little Leprechauns and Guinness and wearing silly oversized green hats was it?.. and so began my journey into the past to find out the origins and the myths that surrounded this man who the Irish have taken to their hearts.

Much as I expected to start my search in Ireland for Patrick, as I delved deeper into the origins of this day, I found myself back in Roman Britain, and immersed in the tale of a kidnapping of a young lad from his wealthy family estate at the tender age of 16.
That young man was Maewyn Succat.

Maewyn was the son of Calphurnius, who was a deacon and strictly devout, though his son did not share his father's religious beliefs. When their estate was over-run by Irish marauders, Maewyn was abducted along with many others and taken back across the sea to Ireland and sold into slavery, where he spent the next 6 years of his life, working as a shepherd for his chieftain master, Milchu, high priest of the Druids.
Life was bleak for the 16 year old lad, snatched from his family and the comfortable life he had once known, and in his isolation away from his loving home, Maewyn found himself turning to God in his loneliness and desperation, finding the support and strength to bear the hardships he faced during those long difficult years in captivity.

When he had just turned 22, and almost resigned to the life he now led as a slave in a foreign land, Maewyn experienced a strange dream, in which God told him that he would be returning back home to his family once more, and to make himself ready for the journey ahead. This seemed almost an impossibility, yet such was his devout faith in the Lord, that he accepted this dream as a portent of what was to be..

St Patrick..

Maewyn did indeed eventually return home by ship, escaping the drudge of slavery and his violent heathen master, but in the time he was away, he returned to Britain a changed man, no longer the callow youth he had once been. He began to study, and entered the priesthood being consecrated by Pope St Celestine Ist in 431 A.D
Maewyn still experienced strange and mysterious dreams. In one he was handed a letter asking him to return to Ireland to drive out the paganism that resided there among the Druids and bring the people to Christianity.

It was hard for him to return to the land of his captivity, and Maewyn wrestled inwardly with this dilemma but at last accepting the prophecy of his dream, he returned to the Emerald Isle, older and wiser and with a burning inner light of the voice of the Lord in his heart and soul. His belief in God absolute. His calling now very clear to him.

On his return to Ireland, despite meeting a hostile resistance initially, Maewyn, now a Bishop, set out as a missionary to spread the word of his religion. He wanted to save the souls of the Irish for God, and his approach was gentle as he encouraged them to turn away from their paganistic rituals and beliefs. He led them gently into Christianity, and because of his respectful attitude, they followed him in their droves.
Mythology would have us believe that St Patrick drove all the Snakes out of Ireland which is a wonderful tale, but it is thought to be more symbolic in nature. The Snakes represented paganism, and this he did help abolish.
When Maewyn was ordained, he changed his name to Patricius, which eventually became St Patrick, the man and Saint who is still venerated in Ireland and all over the world today.

St Patrick died in Ireland on March 17th, 461A.D in this land that he had grown to love, and surrounded by people he had grown to care for. As an elderly man, he marvelled at how the Lord could achieve so much, never realising just how great a part Patrick himself had played in it.
The legacy he left in his wake, took the form of Monasteries and Churches established throughout the land.

This country that had once brought him such loneliness and heartache in his teenage years, would be now where his heart would always lie, within his beloved Ireland among the people he would call his own.

Traditions and Celebrations.

St Patrick's Day actually falls during Lent, a Christian religious period of fasting with penance and prayer, yet due to the restrictions being lifted because of the holy day, a feast would be prepared to celebrate it.
The traditional fare in Ireland was Bacon and Cabbage, though the Irish who fled to America during the catastrophic Potato Famine, substituted Corned Beef instead as a cheaper alternative.

When you think of St Patrick's Day, I imagine the first thing that springs to mind is Shamrocks, Harps, Leprechauns, and the Luck of the Irish. Closely followed by Street Parades, the colour Green, and not forgetting the traditional pints of Guinness..or perhaps Whiskey, another Irishman's favourite tipple.
We mustn't forget the Celtic Cross and the famous Blarney Stone either, famous for its gift of bestowing eloquence and flattering words upon those who kissed it.
St Patrick's Day is well known for its colourful and varied traditions that are celebrated worldwide nowadays, but let us look at a few of these in more depth.

The three leaf Clover or Shamrock was originally seen as the harbinger of Spring..A rebirth of new life, but also became a symbol of Irish Nationalism during the 1700's and up until today.
Although it was said that St Patrick used the Shamrock to explain the doctrine of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the people of Ireland, this may well be a myth evolved over time.
The Clover leaf is still seen as a lucky symbol, and if a child finds a four leaf one rather than the usual three, they may feel they are fortunate indeed as all manner of good things may befall them or so they say!

Fairy-tales brought us the little green dressed man known as Leprechauns as part of fairy folklore. He was known as 'Luchorpan' which means 'little body', and he is always thought to be busy hiding his pot of gold amid the undergrowth, fearful it will be stolen from him.
He is said to be two foot in height, and not the friendliest of little people should you come across him one dark night in your travels from the local hostelry. A Shoemaker by trade, you can hear the tap, tap, tapping of his hammer as he goes about his duty making shoes and muttering about his treasure.. Then again, you just might have imbibed a little too much of the black stuff, as Guinness is locally known..

Irish Celtic music just wouldn't be the same without the sound of the Harp. Its soothing melodic tone takes great skill to sound so effortless and is another symbol and tradition of Ireland that goes back over the centuries.
The image of the Harp can be seen on Irish Coinage, Official documentation, and on the Presidential Flag.
Celtic music evokes the ethereal beauty and mysticism of the beautiful Emerald Isle in all her glory.

Happy St Patrick's Day To You All...

I hope that you have enjoyed my brief stroll through history to investigate the origins and traditions of St Patrick's Day, and maybe even gleamed an insight into why this day means so much to every Irish soul who will be raising a glass to a man who helped bring Christianity onto their shores.
As of most Saints and legends, what is fact and myth is cleverly interwoven and difficult to clearly define, but that shouldn't detract from a young man's journey in finding his way to God, and the enjoyment of this celebratory occasion.

Whatever you may be doing to celebrate St Patrick's day on March 17th, may your celebrations be all you wish them to be..and may the luck of the Irish be with you..

An Irish Blessing..

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.


Credits:
Thanks to youtube and contributors for the embedded videos.
All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons with thanks.
Thanks to Quote Garden for the Irish Blessing.

Why not check out my Profile and my other Historical Articles?
The Origin and Traditions of Mothering Sunday.
February 29th. A Ladies Privilege to Propose.
Trowbridge..County Town Of Wiltshire.
The Origins and Traditions of Valentines Day.
Remember, Remember,The 5th of November.


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Tags

Blarney Stone, Celebration, Celtic Music, Christian, Christian Values, Christianity, God, Ireland, Leprechauns, Maewyn Succat, March 17Th, Origins, Paganism, Saint, Saint Patrick, Shamrocks, Songbird B, Songbird B Articles, St Patrick, St Patricks Day, Traditions

Meet the author

author avatar Songbird B
Hi there! I am Songbird B, and I am a semi-pro female Jazz vocalist. I have a huge passion for Jazz music, and I love writing Poetry, which I have done all my life. I am very Spiritual in my beliefs, and love Photography, Music and Garden Design....I...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Steve Kinsman
14th Mar 2013 (#)

Wow! What a meticulously researched and beautifully presented, fascinating article! I loved listening to "Miss Hamilton". Thank you Songbird.

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author avatar Songbird B
14th Mar 2013 (#)

Ah thank you Steve, for the moderation and the Star merit too! This subject was fascinating when I looked into it, though I was trying to get it done at breakneck speed lol.. I absolutely loved the harp music and even the first video had my feet tapping. There is just something about the magic of Irish music that never leaves you untouched..Bless you for your kind comment my friend. \0/x

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author avatar Retired
14th Mar 2013 (#)

Ditto what Steve said, dear Songbird. Congrats on your deserved star.

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author avatar Songbird B
14th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you RD, this proved to be an interesting project and one I'm glad I tackled..
Bless you dear friend..\0/x

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author avatar C.D. Moore
14th Mar 2013 (#)

Amazing article!!!! I loved the music. Do you think Maewyn might be the Merlin of legend.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
14th Mar 2013 (#)

i think so!!!⁄

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

You are wiser than I replying to CD's query Carolan, lol..Nice to see you on my page..

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you CD..I'm not sure, though Carolan below seems to think so..lol. Great music isn't it..There is just such a magic to it that I defy anyone not to tap their foot to it..hahahaha..

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author avatar richardpeeej
14th Mar 2013 (#)

A very interesting read Songbird my friend. I learned a lot from reading this. I loved the video and images too. Well done in achieving another star page for your work..

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Bless you Rich..This was all a bit rushed, but I am glad that it has been received so well. It proved a fascinating subject when looked into in depth..Hugs \0/x

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
14th Mar 2013 (#)

this is a superb piece Bev dear and the pics gorgeous...a great Star Page...blessings...

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Carolan..I am so pleased that you enjoyed this too..Blessings my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Buzz
15th Mar 2013 (#)

Great and fascinating history, dear Bev. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Hello Buzz! Hope that you had a happy one too dear friend..The Irish know how to celebrate this day in style..\0/x

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Mar 2013 (#)

A beautiful post lovingly presented, Songbird. I have seen St Patrick's schools in Asia and now I know the history behind them - siva

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Sivar..Everyday I gain a little more knowledge.. I enjoyed researching this article and found it a fascinating journey..\0/x

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author avatar Tranquilpen
15th Mar 2013 (#)

A hauntingly beautiful article of Ireland exquisitely and lovingly written which my wife and children had visited whilst I was in hospital in South Africa. My middle daughter has been living there for 10 years and had sent us the invite, when I suddenly turned ill. In my dreams I walk those emerald green hills and hope that someday I might yet visit it. Thank you Bev for sharing with us X:-))

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Oh bless you dear Andre'. I am so sorry that illness prevented you getting to Ireland. I have never visited either, but have dear friends with Irish roots, so have seen it through their eyes. Never say never dear heart..Your feet may yet walk upon the emerald isle of this beautiful and mysterious country..Blessings to you Andre' \0/x

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author avatar Delicia Powers
19th Mar 2013 (#)

Great history and beautiful touching page, thank you Songbird..

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Delicia..I hope that you enjoyed seeing Ireland through my article, and reading of its St Patrick's history my friend. \0/x

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Amazing article. I loved it.

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Hello Kingwell..So great to see you here on my page. Glad to you enjoyed my article my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Djbrat
28th Mar 2013 (#)

So much great info, put together nicely. I love it ♥

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author avatar Songbird B
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Dina..I have been enjoying your articles too my friend..\0/x

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