As the story goes, St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland who famously banished all the snakes from Ireland. But, this is a product of only storytelling. St. Patrick was actually born in Britain around 386 A.D. He was taken prisoner by raiders who attacked his family’s estate. While imprisoned he worked as a shepherd and turned towards God, and he found his faith in Christianity.
St. Patrick eventually escaped imprisonment. He walked to the Irish coast where it is believed he experienced a religious revelation that he would begin religious training and return to Ireland. And he did just that! He became a minister and made it his mission to convert other Irish people to Christianity.
Up until that point the Irish had mostly practiced a nature-based religion. St. Patrick tried to combine traditional rituals, like honoring the Gods with fire, but doing this for Christian holidays like Easter. This way St. Patrick was able to combine traditional Irish beliefs with Christian faith! So goes the story of St. Patrick!
Now… where did those Leprechauns come from? Their origin starts with an old Irish story about a king who falls asleep at a beach and the Lúchorpáin rose from the sea to try and drag the king in. The king woke up, captured the creatures and made them grant his wishes in exchange for their escape. “Lúchorpáin” translates to “little bodies”, and this was the first version of the Leprechaun. Since then, the story had evolved to a little man who can fix shoes and has a pot of gold!
St. Patrick’s Day is to celebrate St. Patrick himself! The holiday was once celebrated as a religious feast, but it was grown to an international celebration of Irish culture! St. Patrick was originally associated with a specific shade of blue! But because of the St. Patrick using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, and the green landscape of Ireland, green has become synonymous with Irish nationalism.
So grab a Guinness, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!