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St. Patrick's Day honors the patron saint of Ireland

POSTED: March 16, 2017 9:01 a.m.
Caresa Alexander Randall/

The legends, myths and traditions that have formed in celebration of St. Patrick have continued to grow. Some of those legends are true, and some have been modernized, but they are all in remembrance of the patron saint of Ireland.

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March 17 honors St. Patrick, the missionary and patron saint of Ireland.

Kidnapped from Britain at age 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave, St. Patrick escaped and later returned to the place of his captivity to preach Christianity to the Irish, according to Britannica.com. The online encyclopedia noted, by the time of his death, St. Patrick had established monasteries, churches and schools, and he was later honored as the patron saint of Ireland.

Many legends, myths and traditions have formed in celebration of St. Patrick. Some of those legends are true, and some have been modernized, according to history.com, but they are all in remembrance of St. Patrick.

The color blue was traditionally associated with St. Patrick, not green, according to The Telegraph. The article notes “St. Patrick’s Blue” is used on Ireland’s Presidential standard, but the shift to green happened because of the green on the national flag of Ireland, the nickname “Emerald Isle” and because of the three-leaf shamrock which, according to St. Patrick's Day lore, Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity. The Telegraph reported that, according to legend, green is worn to make people invisible to leprechauns, who will pinch anyone they see.

Time.com reported that the story about St. Patrick banishing all snakes from Ireland was actually a metaphor, and National Geographic noted scholars have suggested the slithering serpents were symbols of heathen practices St. Patrick eradicated with his Christian influence. The surrounding seas and the cold temperatures of Ireland have kept snakes from colonizing the island, according to National Geographic.

While some of the fun behind the celebration of St. Patrick may have been modernized, the holiday remains a reminder of a saint determined to share his faith with others. Enjoy a plate of corned beef and cabbage, attend a parade and wear green to avoid a pinch, in honor of the patron saint of the “Emerald Isle.”

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