March 17

Hellooooooo History People!

Get ready for yet another blast from the past as we look at what happened this day in history!

1990: The Soviet Union calls for Lithuania to renounce its independence – and Lithuania refuses

1906: Major Earthquake in Taiwan kills 1200 people

1762: New York City hosts the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade

461: The real St. Patrick’s death

In honor of the holiday, today we’ll talk about the history of St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick, a Catholic-born Roman citizen, was born in Scotland and kidnapped at age 16 by Irish brigands who brought him to Ireland and forced him into slavery for many years. During this time, Patrick refined and depended on his faith. One night, a voice came to him in a dream and aided his escape back to his home country, where he was able to be reunited with his family.

Some time later, Patrick received another message in a dream in which a person who called himself Victoricus gave Patrick a letter and told him to read it. The letter was labeled “The Voice of the Irish.”, and as he read it, Patrick felt like he was able to hear the voices of Irishmen begging him to return to Ireland again. After the dream, Patrick felt a genuine calling to the priesthood, and was ordained as a priest and then again as a bishop before he acted on his dream and returned to the country that had been his prison for six years.

In Ireland, Patrick performed many charitable, kind, and religious acts for the rest of his life, such as preaching the Gospel, performing conversions to Catholicism, and helping the impoverished people. He died on this day, which also became his designated feast day once he was honored as a saint, in the year 461.

Legend has it that St. Patrick himself drove out all of the snakes from Ireland, but in reality, Ireland never actually had any snakes in the first place. St. Patrick is known for supposedly baptizing and converting thousands of people to Christianity, thereby driving out the “snakes”, or the devil and any competing religions, from the majority of northern Ireland.

St. Patrick was also known to have been an excellent missionary and teacher, and in doing so, he often used three-leaf clovers to help explain the relationship among the
three aspects of the Holy Trinity, which is why the shamrock is so visible on this holiday as well.

Today, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because of all the work he did within the country, and today, the day of his death, is his feast day. In 1792, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred in New York City, and the tradition eventually spread internationally to celebrate the life of a man who offered his life in religious servitude by spreading Christianity to thousands of people.

For contemporary Catholics, St. Patrick’s Day falls in the middle of their season of Lent, which is the forty days before Easter that Catholics use to enrich their relationships with God by fasting, praying, and offering goods or services willingly to those in need. However, on St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Catholics consider this a day of celebration for St. Patrick, and can be seen drinking, dancing, playing music and games to celebrate the life of this man and their Irish heritage.

St. Patrick’s Day is probably one of my personal favorite holidays because of the massive amounts of green that are visible on the streets, decorations, and clothing of so many communities every year. It also allows me to embrace my small but still present Irish roots and love for the genre of music that floods the air with sweet, rapturous sounds. It also gives me a reason to watch clips of Irish step dancing on repeat with no shame, as if I don’t already do that any other time during the year (follow the link —>> Riverdance 2009).

So for those of you who are of age, have a pint or two (or more) for me at your local pub, sing some cliche drinking songs, and follow every rainbow until you find that pot of gold.That’s all for now, folks!

Until next time,

Quote of the Day:

“The people who know nothing about music are the ones always talking about it.”

-Nat King Cole (Birthday on this day 1919)


One thought on “March 17

  1. Jessica,
    I really enjoyed reading this! I like the way you began this, by just listing things that happened on this day in history. It was interesting to see what else has happened in history on St. Patrick’s Day; it was attention grabbing, even though I didn’t really know where you were going with it. Then you elaborated and built on it. It was well-written, there were pictures and gifs to make it less boring. I appreciate that in blogs. I like the quote of the day as well. I almost wish the quote had something to do with it, but there probably aren’t many quotes that relate to St. Patrick’s day, are there? All around though, I really enjoyed this article. Good job!

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