Luck of the Irish

Nicole Murri, Staff Writer

On March 17th the Irish and the Irish-at-heart will celebrate with parades, dancing, dying rivers green, and perhaps an occasional alcoholic beverage. However not everyone knows who St. Patrick is or what started this holiday.

For one thing, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish, he was born in Britain during the 4th century to an aristocratic family, and his real name was believed to be Maewyn Succat. The story begins when he was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep for several years as a slave in Ireland at age 16.

After escaping, Maewyn returned to Ireland as a christian missionary. For thirty years he baptized, established monasteries, churches and schools. He took on the name Patrick after becoming a priest. Maewyn died on March 17th and was declared a saint by the local church.

According to some, the first color to associate with the holiday was actually blue. It was believed to have changed because of the nickname of Ireland the “Emerald Isle” (named for its green landscape). Green is also one of the colors in its tri-colored flag, the color of spring, and lucky shamrock too. According to St. Patrick’s Day lore, Maewyn used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Trinity.