Saint Patrick's Day: How a Shepherd of Sheep Became a Shepherd of Souls

Celebrated on March 17, the day of his death, Saint Patrick is best known for being Ireland’s Patron Saint. However, the celebration has spread all over the world. Although it is a perfect excuse for drinking a lot of Guinness for the occasion, Saint Patrick’s Day is much more than that. Here are some basic facts about Saint Patrick.

A FEW FACTS ABOUT SAINT PATRICK

Saint Patrick was born in 385 AD in Britain. Maewyn Succat being his real name, he decided to change to Patricius — “father figure” in Latin — after receiving his religious education.

So how is he connected to Ireland? As a teenager, Maewyn has been captured by pirates and brought to Ireland, where he was held as a captive for six years. Finally, he managed to escape and went back to Britain, where he became a priest.

BECOMING A MISSIONARY 

According to his own confession, Patrick had a vision in which God prompted him to return to Ireland with a mission — to convert pagans to Christianity — which the priest eventually completed with success. He dedicated his whole life spreading Catholic religion across the island. For decades, he baptized and confirmed common people, ordained priests, and built schools and monasteries. Thanks to his devotion and zeal, Ireland is still a profoundly Catholic country.

WHY SHAMROCK?

Although it has never been confirmed, it is believed that Saint Patrick used shamrock as a symbol of his religion because with its three leaves it represents the Trinity. That's why the green color is now strongly associated with this festivity.

St. Patrick holding a Shamrock.

ST PATRICK'S DAY

St Patrick’s Day has been celebrated for the first time in 1903, the same year it became an official public holiday in Ireland.

THE PATRONAGE

Beyond Ireland, St. Patrick is also the Patron Saint of Nigeria, Boston, Murcia (Spain), as well as the protector saint of engineers and paralegals. Besides all that, it is also believed that the Saint also protects those who invoke him against snakes. The latter is connected to the belief that Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland, probably symbolizing his eradicating paganism from the island.

WHAT ABOUT LENT?

Lented traditions are suspended on the day, those who observe the custom are allowed to indulge in eating meat and drinking alcohol. 

And since on Saint Patrick's day we all feel a bit Irish, the last couple of years the Colosseum was lit up green on March, 17.

Don’t forget to honor all Patricias and Patricks you know and check our St. Patrick’s medal below! The Saint is usually depicted as he stands on snakes, holding his bishop's cozier in one hand and the sacred scriptures in the other.