One of my favorite snacks growing up was graham crackers with icing. For some reason, we usually only had green food coloring so the icing was green ... my blog site had reminded me a lot of that color of green.
So, who was St. Patrick? Here's an article by Lynn Kargol that explains.
Although its roots are in the green fields of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has become a time-honored celebration all across the globe. The 17th of March has inspired prayers, parties, and parades throughout the centuries. Each year seems to give rise to new and intriguing traditions as more people celebrate the lucky day. But the man who inspired that holiday would probably be more than a little surprised by today's celebrations.
Before Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland, he lived in a different country and went by another name. According to the family website wilstar.com, Maewyn, as his parents decided to call him, was born in Wales in the year 385 AD. Growing up, Maewyn did not believe in Christianity. Then, at the age of 16, he was captured by a group of Irish pillagers who eventually sold him into slavery there. It was during these arduous times that Maewyn, who had lost everything, decided to turn to God.
After six years as a slave in Ireland, Maewyn was able to escape his captivity and flee to Gaul, a region in western Europe. He stayed there for 12 years as a monastery student, determined to fulfill his calling to spread the teachings of Christ that had given him hope during his enslavement. It was also during this time that Maewyn changed his name to Patrick.
Surprisingly enough, Patrick was set on returning to the country that enslaved him in hopes of reaching out to nonbelievers there. Even so, a man named Palladius (whom St. Patrick sometimes gets confused with) was appointed to do missionary work in Ireland instead since he had more years at the monastery. He was the first bishop of Ireland.
Yet Palladius' passion did not seem to be with Ireland, as he moved on to Scotland two years later. His transfer opened the door for Patrick to return to Ireland and minister to the people as their second bishop.
During his lifetime, Patrick wrote two books which provide a great deal of insight into his life. In the Epistola, Patrick speaks out against the mistreatment of Irish Christians and in the Confessio, he describes his life as the bishop of Ireland. Patrick traveled across the nation, telling the people about Christ and establishing schools and churches as he went. It is said that he used the three leaves making up the clover to demonstrate the Trinity of God.
Yet Patrick paid the price for speaking what he believed in as he was captured and sent to jail on several occasions during his ministry.
Although it is often said that Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, a website devoted entirely to St. Patrick's Day dispelled the misconception. Ireland is not currently home to any species of snakes and most likely never has been. The site explains that serpent-worship was common to pagans at the time, and Patrick's mission was to end such practices.
Patrick retired after working in Ireland for 30 years. He died on March 17, 461, which thereafter became known as "St. Patrick's Day."