Shamrocks Teacher Guide To St. Patrick's Day

March 17th is known as St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick was known as the Patron Saint of Ireland. For those in this world who have even a dash of Celtic blood in them, they consider this day a day of celebration and remembrance.

The legend of St. Patrick is partly that, legend, and partly fact. No one can seem to agree on where St. Patrick was born, the year he was born, the year he died, or where he died, which makes St. Patrick all that much more mysterious. However, he did write his own diaries and other works that tell us about his life. No matter what the case is, it is true that he did a lot for Ireland. He was also very well liked.

Some people say St. Patrick was born about 373 AD, others in 389 AD. Some people say he was born in Scotland, while others say England or France. Where he died is in question also. Some will say France, some say Ireland. There is even doubt as to the day of his birth. March 17th is the day we use, but some say it was the 8th and some say it was the 9th. This controversy got so bad that that it was decided that eight plus nine makes seventeen so some thought that St. Patrick's Day was celebrated on March 17th for this reason. It turns out, he died on March 17th, we know that for certain, even if no one knows the year. That is why St. Patrick's Day is ultimately celebrated on March 17th. Wherever he was born and when, or whatever year he died, his name has been forever associated with Ireland.

There are many myths that accompany St. Patrick's Day, but not very much of it can be proven true. Some of these myths say that St. Patrick was able to raise people from the dead. He is also said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. There is one problem with that story. Ireland is an island. There were never any snakes that were native to Ireland. This means there were not any snakes to drive out of Ireland. It is possible though; that the snakes actually meant the "non Christians" as he was a popular preacher and maybe the snakes could be a metaphor for people he converted to Christianity. For this reason, St. Patrick's Day was originally a religious holiday, but has since become much more of a secular holiday.

The shamrock is one traditional icon of St. Patrick's Day. Again, this comes from a religious standpoint of how St. Patrick tried to explain the Trinity. Today however, it stands for Faith, Hope, and Love. If you find a four-leaf clover, the fourth leaf is for luck, of course! Anyway, because of his preaching, St. Patrick's followers took to wearing a clover on March 17th. The tradition has obviously stuck around.

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