<ul><li>St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland . </li></ul>
<ul><li>At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. </li></ul><ul><li>They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. </li></ul><ul><li>During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. </li></ul>
He believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland . After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped to Britain .
<ul><li>He experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. </li></ul><ul><li>He converted many Irish to </li></ul><ul><li>Christianity in the fifth century. </li></ul><ul><li>St. Patrick incorporated traditional Celtic symbols, like the bonfire and the sun , into his Christian teachings . </li></ul>
St. Patrick’s Day Symbols The Celtic Cross – a sun (from the Celts) super-imposed on a cross (from the Christians ) The shamrock , or “seamroy,” symbolizes the rebirth of spring. It was later adopted as a symbol of Irish nationalism. The leprechaun , or “lobaircin” was a cranky, “small-bodied fellow” of Celtic folklore, given its “cute” features and popularized in the United States by Walt Disney .
Christians attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon , although pubs in Ireland were closed on March 17 by law until 1995. The rules of Lent are waived and revelers traditionally eat Irish bacon and cabbage. The first St. Patty’s Day parade occurred when Irish soldiers in the British army marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. The Chicago River has been dyed green every year since 1962.
St. Patrick’s Day Symbols Music has always been an important part of Irish life. Irish music is produced with instruments like the fiddle, the uilleann pipes, the tin whistle, and the bodhran . It is said that St. Patrick drove snakes from Ireland; Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick's Day to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage .