What’s up with St. Patrick’s day? And what makes this one saint so special that he gets his very own day?
Patrick was actually British, and a wealthy Brit at that… or, at least, he was born into a wealthy family. During his youth, he appeared to be far from religious even though his father was a deacon.
As a teenager he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. During his six years in captivity, he began to have dreams of converting the Irish to Christianity. He escaped captivity when he thought he heard God’s voice instructing him to leave Ireland.
Later, he was visited by an angel instructing him to return to Ireland to serve as a missionary. Patrick then spent 15 years studying his faith he was ordained a priest and sent off to Ireland.
As is often the case with Catholicism, Patrick integrated the native pagan beliefs and rituals into Catholic teachings. At this time in Ireland, the Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth, which probably are to blame for the highly exaggerated stories of St. Patrick’s life.
So why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s day? There are a lot of Irish in America, whose ancestors migrated here from their native land. Those first Irishmen brought with them their crazy tales and near-worship of St. Patrick.
The reality is St. Patrick is another Catholic saint who’s life we celebrate without even knowing why. But at least we can say we haven’t supplanted the celebration of a Catholic saint in place of celebrating the birth of our Savior (as is the case with St. Nicholas).
Yes, I’m a grouch about St. Patrick’s day. Not only because I disagree with the celebration of his life (where the hell is Joseph Smith’s day?), but also because I don’t even get a paid day off because of it!