On March 17 people all around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parties, parades, four leaf clovers and the color green. So who was St. Patty and where did we get these celebratory traditions?
St. Patrick was born to Christian parents around AD 387. His birth name was Maewyn Succat and he grew up in a Roman colony of Britain. Maewyn was abducted at age 16 by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. In captivity he learned the language and cultural lifestyle of the Druids. During this era, Ireland was a very pagan nation where Druid influence and wicked rituals dominated culture.
Maewyn was not a professing Christian when he was kidnapped; he was believed to be an atheist. His grandfather was a priest, and his father a deacon, so Maewyn was exposed to truth at a young age. During his enslavement he experienced many trials and he began to pray. God answered and he developed a relationship with the God of the Bible. He received the hope that he needed to eventually escape by traveling hundreds of miles to the coast, boarding a ship, and returning to his home in Britain.
Once back home, he grew his relationship with Christ and pursued a life of priesthood, becoming an ordained bishop, and adopted a new name, Patrick. His heart and forgiveness towards the Druid people who enslaved him, developed a passion to serve them once again. He willingly went as a missionary to preach the gospel to the Irish.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year marking the date of his death on March 17. Initially, the Roman Catholic Church commemorated the patron saint of Ireland with a feast. However, many do not know the real reason behind St. Patrick’s Day, which was a time to honor a dedicated missionary.