Six little-known facts about St Patrick

St Patrick’s Day on 17 March is becoming ever-more popular amongst people who want to celebrate the life of Ireland’s patron saint.

St Patrick’s Day is known as the luckiest day of the year and sees millions of people around the world donning four-leaf clover and painting themselves green, but do you actually know much about the man behind the celebrations and the reason for St Patrick’s Day gifts? Here are some facts to help you out.

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He wasn’t Irish

Many people think that St Patrick was Irish; however, he was born in England around the year 385. He was kidnapped by Irish pirates when he was 16, which was the start of his journey toward converting Irish people to Christianity.

Green wasn’t the colour

Green is widely associated with St Patrick, his celebrations and gifts from companies such as https://www.shamrockgift.com/st-patricks-day; however, he was originally represented by the colour blue. The Order of St Patrick needed a colour when it was established in 1783 but dark green had already been taken; therefore, the decision was taken to go with blue. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/saints/patrick_1.shtml)

No snakes

Folklore says that St Patrick was responsible for chasing away Ireland’s snakes. It is said that he sent them to sea to help protect the townspeople; however, there is a problem with this story. There were no snakes in Ireland at the time, which means this story is fiction rather than fact.

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Many people believe that rather than being cold-blooded reptiles, the snakes in the stories were representative of the pagans and druids of Ireland, who were considered evil at the time.

He was never pope

St Patrick was never canonised to become pope, which may make his saintly status somewhat questionable.

Having said this, it was not uncommon for saints not to be properly canonised. This is especially true of saints from the first millennium of the church, when there was no formal canonisation process. This meant that people from this era could become saints just for being seen as particularly holy or a martyr.

There are many interesting facts about the celebration and the man himself. These include:

– The first American St Patrick’s Day celebration was held in 1737 in Boston.
– The four leaves of the clover stand for hope, love, luck and faith.

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