Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Have you ever thought about why Irish people drink so much on St. Patrick’s day? Whose life do they celebrate? Here is the answer.
Firstly, St. Patrick was born as Maewyn. Where? Obviously in Wales (“Oulala” – a surprised French reader might think). When? Around 385 A.D.. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by bandits and sold as a slave in Ireland, where he lived for six years, herding sheep and developing a strong faith in God. This is the kind of story you’ve probably heard in your life already. Every big city or small country has a similar legend.
After a while in Ireland he wanted to escape to Gaul (territories on the French west border). He had probably studied in the monastery of St Vincent before and decided to become a priest.
After the “American dream” career, fast promotions, he was appointed as the second bishop to Ireland. As he return to Ireland his desire was to convert the people there to the Christian faith. A difficult mission that lasted 30 years.
St. Patrick did manage to convert thousands Irish people to Christianity. He founded hundreds of churches and, according to lore, “drove the snakes out of Ireland,” an act symbolizing the victory of the Christian faith over pagan rituals. No more “Saint Trees” and praying to squirrels. This would also be one reason for future disputes between Ireland and their “friends” from the North.
I was born in a 90% catholic country, similar to Ireland and I still don’t understand anything about the catholic doctrine. Even though I am smarter than people in the Middle Ages (I hope although you probably don’t think so).
In order to explain the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to local tribesmen, St. Patrick used the three-leaf shamrock (symbol of Ireland). Its green color was signifying renewal and the coming of spring after a long period of winter and “pagan” darkness.
Interestingly, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place not in Ireland, but in Boston on March 18, 1737. This parade involved Irish immigrant workers marching to make a political statement about how they were not happy with their low social status in America. The first Irish St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin did not take place until 1931. Because Great Britain repressed Irish culture before. St. Patrick won this war.