St Patricks Day Crafts are fun to make for the celebrations. I wonder, will you be joining the ‘Green Party’ this March – millions around the world will, and it’s nothing to do with saving the planet! We’ve been busy making St Patricks Day crafts like these lavender and fabric hearts.
For March 17 sees the annual global ‘Greenfest’ of celebrations in honour of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. What the man himself, the most devoted and humble of God-fearing priests, would make of the parties in his name, surely beggars belief.
For centuries, St Patrick’s Day has been honoured by Irish – and non-Irish folk – and has become synonymous with all things Irish. The ‘wearing of the green,’ parades, shamrocks, Guinness and good luck all play a major role as the faithful pay tribute to Ireland’s favourite son.
But, who is Patrick, anyway?
He was born in the late fourth century and is reputed to have lived in Western Scotland. Legend has it, at 16 years of age he was taken by Irish pirates and sold into slavery, working in solitude as a shepherd for six years.
He developed a profound faith in God and, spurred on by visions, escaped back to the mainland. Patrick travelled to Europe to train for the priesthood and, on his return to Britain, was inspired in a dream to realise his life’s mission – the conversion of Ireland to Christianity.
Patrick was not the first to bring Christianity to the Irish pagans, but he was arguably the most effective. He impressed King Laoghaire, using the shamrock to demonstrate the Trinity; one stalk, but three separate leaves, one God but with three entities – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Hence the significance of the shamrock in the March 17 celebrations.
Laoghaire remained a pagan but allowed Patrick to set up a monastery in Armagh and to travel around Ireland, overcoming the influence of the Druids, destroying their rites and converting the Irish..
Patrick’s mission was highly successful and he has been revered by the Irish ever since his death around 461 AD. Folklore declares Patrick was responsible for driving all snakes from Ireland. The snake or serpent was a sign of paganism and the story is probably symbolic as Patrick put an end to the worship of such symbols.
How and where Patrick died is a matter of dispute, but it’s generally accepted the date was March 17, a day of remembrance and celebrations ever since. The biggest events are, of course, in Ireland itself where St Patrick’s Day is a public and religious holiday.
Over the centuries, the Irish have spread throughout the world and taken their festivals, history and traditions with them. American cities with large Irish communities, for example New York and Boston, hold massive celebrations, even to the extent of dying rivers green, painting the roads green and drinking green beer!
Wherever you are on March 17, raise a glass to St Patrick and enjoy the craic!