In America, arguably more than even Ireland, March 17 is a big deal in celebrating what is called St. Patrick’s day. In fact, the idea of parades began in New York with British soldiers from Ireland “marching” to a tavern on this day in the 1760’s. The men we called St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 AD and was really British, not Irish. He was born under the Roman empire authority and his father was a deacon and grandfather a priest. As a 16-year-old, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish invaders and was made a slave. While a slave for 6 years, Patrick stated: “The Lord opened to me a sense of my unbelief, that I might be converted with all my heart unto the Lord.”
Patrick escaped his owners a and made it back home at the age of 22. While extremely grateful to be back home and no longer a slave his heart became burdened for his former captors. One night he dreamed that an Irishman was begging him to return and preach. Patrick started to prepare and study for the task that was before him and after several years went back to Ireland. In his mission work, he was able to plant 200 churches and baptized approximately 100,000 converts though he faced multiple attempts at murder and violent opposition. In his Confessions, he wrote, “I am greatly a debtor of God, who has bestowed his grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me. The Irish, who had never had the knowledge of God and worshipped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called sons of God”. (On this Day by Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The ritual of wearing green extended from wearing the green shamrock on this day to identify with the Christian tradition of Ireland and Patrick’s use of a shamrock to explain the Trinity. If you want to watch a video that utilizes stupid humor as a tool to correct this and other bad analogies for the Trinity then click here.
The “Breast Plate of St. Patrick” is attributed to him (viewed in the picture above), but in reality, we do not know the author of the poem, though it is old enough to have been written or utilized by Patrick.