By Roxy Schneider
Graphic By Jennifer Notman
St. Patrick’s Day falls on Wednesday, March 17 this year. As most people know, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to wear green so that you won’t get pinched, and that night, a mysterious leprechaun will rummage through your house. But why is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated?
I sent a survey out to the Las Lomas student body asking what they knew about St. Patrick’s Day. The response was that 69.2% had no idea why it is celebrated. About 50% of the people who said that they would celebrate said they will be celebrating by wearing green.
St. Patrick’s Day has become a very commercialized holiday similar to Valentine’s Day. Many people don’t understand the holiday besides knowing that leprechauns get free reign to destroy our houses. Even the annual parade in San Francisco doesn’t give the story; the parade is just for people to dress up in green and drink alcohol.
The holiday is a Christian holiday that celebrates a saint named Patrick. St. Patrick is known as the primary patron saint of Ireland, but St. Patrick was, surprisingly, not even born in Ireland. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland to be a slave. While enslaved, he devoted himself to Christianity. After six years, he escaped back to Britain. After reuniting with his family, Patrick claimed he had a vision in which he had to convert Ireland into Christianity. Patrick, at first, was not very welcomed and had few followers. Eventually, he began to gain popularity, baptized over 100,000 people and formed 300 churches. The clover that is associated with St. Patrick’s Day is what is said to be how Patrick taught about the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is a common way for Catholics to end a prayer, saying: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” These three make up the Holy Trinity, and Patrick showed this through a shamrock.
There are many myths about St. Patrick, and one is about the snakes. It is said that St. Patrick got rid of all the snakes in the land where he was in Ireland when that is false. There were actually no snakes where he was or even nearby; they weren’t native to that area. Another myth is that you’re supposed to eat corn beef on St. Patrick’s Day. In reality, not many people in Ireland eat corned beef anymore; it was just a cheap form of meat that Irish immigrants to America were able to afford to celebrate. Finally, the original color associated with St. Patrick was blue, not green. Early pictures depict him wearing a shade of blue known as St. Patrick’s Blue. Overall, the misconception of the holiday may contribute to its commercialization.