St. Patrick’s Day
Posted on January 13, 2015
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated these days with green food and lots of beer. So how did it start? Here’s a St. Patrick’s Day timeline.
St. Patrick (Maewyn) is born in Roman Britain in the village of Bannaven Taberniae. He is the son of a deacon named Calpurnius.
Kidnapped by Irish pirates, he is taken to Ireland where he is sold as a slave. He remains there for six years, working as a shepherd in Ulster, Ireland. It is during this captivity that he turns to God. While living in the mountains and forests, he awakes before daylight and prays in the snow, the rain, no matter the weather, never missing an opportunity to pray.
He is awarded for his dedication with a vision from God. According to his book Confessions, God says to him: “‘You do well to fast: soon you will depart for your home country.’ And again, a very short time later, there was a voice prophesying: ‘Behold, your ship is ready.’ And it was not close by, but, as it happened, two hundred miles away, where I had never been nor knew any person. And shortly thereafter I turned about and fled from the man with whom I had been for six years, and I came, by the power of God who directed my route to advantage (and I was afraid o nothing), until I reached that ship.” The steersman won’t allow him entrance onto the ship so he leaves and prays and before he is done, some of ship’s crew give him permission to sail with them.
Three days later, the ship reaches land. For twenty-eight days they travel through unknown and unhabited country. The crew questions St. Patrick’s so-called God and he insists if they welcome God into their hearts, God will answer their prayers for food. When they do, a herd of swine comes out of nowhere and they give thanks to God.
Legend has it that St. Patrick is attacked by Satan the same night the crew feasts on the swine. A huge rock tumbles on top of St. Patrick who is trapped beneath it until sunrise when a great force pushes the rock from him.
St. Patrick is captured, along with the crew, the day the rock falls on him. God tells him he will be their slave for two months. When two months pass, he and what’s left of the crew, and other prisoners, escape and for twenty-eight days they trudge through unpopulated land. The day they had run out of food is the day they came across people.
St. Patrick returns to England and reunites with his parents.
He moves to Gaul to study under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre, France.
Returns to Britain and during this year he decides he would like to return to Ireland with the mission to convert the pagans to Christianity. However, the Church doesn’t agree and sends St. Palladius.
St. Palladius either dies or transfers to Scotland, leaving an opening for St. Patrick, who gladly takes on the task.
After thirty years of living in Ireland, he said to have baptized more than 120,000 people and built 300 churches. During this period comes up with the analogy between the Holy Trinity and the three leaves of the shamrock. The legend of him driving out all of the snakes from Ireland is born, though many historians point out there most likely weren’t any snakes to drive out. A better explanation is the snakes he drove out are actually the pagan beliefs. He is also rumored to have risen the dead.
March 17, 461 A.D.
St. Patrick dies. It is unknown where he is buried but a shrine in County Down, Ireland is said to have his jawbone which is believed to drive off the “evil eye,” help with childbirth, and cure epileptic fits. Not many years after, the Irish begin to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a religious day.
March 17, 1737
In Boston, Massachusetts the first St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by Irish immigrants. At this time, it is celebrated as a Catholic holy day.
March 17, 1756
In New York City the first St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the Crown and Thistle Tavern.
March 17, 1762
The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place in New York City by Irish soldiers serving in the English military.
The Great Potato Famine hits Ireland and over a million Irish immigrants migrate to the U.S.A. They have difficulty finding work but it doesn’t take them long to realize their overwhelming numbers equal power when it comes to election time. Political hopefuls see this too and begin to brownnose with what will become known as the “green machine.” The new immigrants begin to use the St. Patrick’s Day Parades as a show of solidarity and strength. The political candidates used the parade to gather votes.
March 16, 1926
The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre takes place. Alphonse Lambert (aka “Scarface”), the Pègre crime lord, attempts to wipe out rival Jean Arnaud and his men. The hit occurs at Arnaud’s sister-in-law’s apartment where a St. Patrick’s party is taking place. The death count is unknown because many people known to be at the party are never found. The attack takes no longer than ten minutes and no chance is taken as each body is found by the police with one pistol-shot directly with the remainder of their bodies showered with bullet wounds.
President Truman attends the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade and many Irish Americans consider this a symbolic sign that they are finally accepted.
Up until this point, pubs are not allowed to be open on St. Patrick’s Day. The ban is lifted.
March 17, 1996
In Ireland the first St. Patrick’s Festival is held.
Feb. 18, 2001
The Sunday Mirror reads: “Loony Americans are set to ban the Shamrock in Boston following complaints from minority groups. They have bizarrely compared Ireland’s three-leafed emblem to the Nazi swastika. Now the shamrock will become a thing of the past as the emblems are torn down from playgrounds, doors and windows in housing developments all over the city. The decision has been made by Boston Housing Association following complaints from blacks and Hispanics.” This ban, however, does not come to pass.
Canadians are still lobbying for St. Patrick’s Day to be a national holiday, not just in Newfoundland and Labrador.