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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The History of Saint Patrick's Day

March 17th is when we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. Once only an Irish religious celebration, it changed though times and became a funny and happy holiday that celebrates the Irish culture and heritage in different parts of the world. Read the article bellow and  learn more about it! And, of course, have a happy St. Patrcik's Day you all!

Who was Saint Patrick?

The patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, Saint Patrick has been historically credited with formalizing the presence of Christianity in Ireland during the 5th century AD. He is said to have abolished the Druid's pagan rites and converted and baptized their warrior chiefs. 

The Shamrock

Legend tells that the Irish apostle used the shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Trinity to potential converts. The three leaves of the shamrock, which today is a popular symbol of the St. Patrick's Day holiday, were used to represent the father, the son, and the holy spirit. 

St. Patrick's death

There are multiple accounts of the location and events leading to Saint Patrick's death. One fact is unanimously accepted, however: Saint Patrick died on March 17. Since that day, Irish Catholics have celebrated March 17th as a religious holiday.

Food & drink

Because St. Patrick's Day occurs during the Christian Lent period, religious families would have been prohibited from consuming meat and alcohol. However, these prohibitions were waived on St. Patty's Day, allowing even the most pious to celebrate the day with a traditional feast of Irish bacon and cabbage and some spirits. 

St. Patrick's Day today

Unlike in Ireland, the United States has always had secular celebrations of St. Patrick's Day, dating back as far as 1737 when Boston held its first St. Patrick's Day parade. Today, people of all denominations and religious backgrounds celebrate the holiday by drinking green beer, wearing green clothing, adorning shamrock pins and attending parades. 
Some of the most famous U.S. celebrations include the St. Patty's Day parades in Boston, New York and Chicago, which are attended by close to a million people each year - with many millions more enjoying them on TV.

(adapted for educational purposes from www.holidays.net/stpattys/story.htm but it seems that the original  link is broken or that the website has been shut down).

St. Patrick's Day History - Video

Now that you know a few facts about St. Patrick, check out this funny animation telling his history:

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  1. GREAT!

    Have you used it in your classes?

  2. Ooops!
    I should have asked: have you used it FOR your classes?

    1. Yeah! I used the text/images for a comprehension activity with 9 graders last Friday. It worked pretty well! I'm glad you also liked it! =)