The myths and legend of St Patrick


FEW of the Catholic saints are more celebrated than the fiery St Patrick.
On March 17 – St Patrick’s Day – the death of the Apostle of the Irish will be marked with huge parades through cities including Tokyo (pic above), Moscow, Mumbai, Oslo, Singapore and Buenos Aires.
The man credited with banishing snakes and paganism from the Emerald Isle, was not Irish.
Historians have labored for years to uncover St Patrick’s roots. Some believe he was born about 390 in Glasgow. Others have insisted on Cumbria, Wales, Northhampton and even France.
Respected British archeologist Nicholas Fuentes claimed St Patrick was born in a Roman town that is now known as Battersea in London.
His real name wasn’t even Patrick. It was Maewyn Succat.
But no matter.
He impressed the wild Irish with inventive teachings – he used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the doctrine of the trinity – and miracles supposedly supported his words
St Patrick probably died about 460 but the place of his burial is unknown.
When he started his mission, Ireland was one of the few countries not under Roman rule. Pagan traditions, such as sun worship, the quick divorce, polygamy and slave hunting, were rampant.
Irish missionaries sent far and wide by St Patrick were credited with bring-
ing Europe out of the Dark Ages.
These few facts about St Patrick have been embellished by his biographers.
Thus we have an unconfirmed story that St Patrick cleared Ireland of snakes.
The story goes that one old serpent resisted him so he made a box and invited the snake to enter it.
The snake objected saying it was too small, but St Patrick insisted it was large enough.
Eventually the serpent entered to prove the box was too small. St Patrick slammed down the lid and cast the box into the sea.
It’s traditional to wear green on St Patrick’s Day. But in Ireland the color was long considered to be unlucky. Irish superstition holds that green is the favorite color of leprechauns, who are likely to steal people, especially children, who wear too much of the colour. Why did green become so emblematic of St. Patrick that people began drinking green beer, wearing green and, of course, dyeing the Chicago River green to mark the holiday he inspired? The association probably dates back to the 18th century, when supporters of Irish independence used the color to represent their cause.
St Patrick’s Day celebrations have been , naturally, always big in Ireland.
But until the early 1970s, successive governments had banned alcohol on St Patrick’s Day in all areas of Dublin except the annual Dog Show.
Not surprisingly, the attendances at this event were huge.


3 thoughts on “The myths and legend of St Patrick

  1. Pingback: The myths and legend of St Patrick | hobo univercity

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