The Real Meaning of St. Patrick’s Day
Did you know that St. Patrick’s Day is actually a Catholic/Christian holiday? Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland and the anniversary of his death was made an official feast day in the Catholic Church. St. Patrick’s Day has other correlations with Christianity. For example, Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock plant to explain the Holy Trinity when discussing the message of Christ. Today, the shamrock is a symbol of Ireland, used as a marker to indicate Irish pubs, beer and St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Over the years, the observance of St. Patrick’s Day has changed. In Ireland, it was always a day of celebration with special meaning for two reasons. First, Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and a symbol of national pride. Second, St. Patrick’s Day always falls during Lent, a period of sacrifice, but the day was an exception to Lenten restrictions, when all foods, feasting and drinking were permitted.
Now St. Patrick’s Day has been glamorized with green beer, green food, leprechauns and shamrocks. Today this feasting on March 17 is taken to extreme and St. Patrick’s Day is associated more with drunken debauchery than God.
So how should you celebrate this day? One way is to remain sober this holiday and reconnect with the gratitude that is the meaning behind St. Patrick’s Day. For you, this may be a time to reflect on the message of Christianity and how grateful you are to saints like Saint Patrick who were steadfast in their witness of the goodness of God. It is important to celebrate the day and remember the original intention of St. Patrick’s Day was in fact a religious holiday.