St Patrick's Day is a global celebration of Irish culture on or around March 17. It particularly remembers St Patrick, one of Ireland's patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century.
St. Patrick's Life
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was a Christian missionary given credited with converting Ireland to Christianity in the AD 400s. So many legends surround his life that the truth is not easily found.
St Patrick was not actually Irish. His exact birthplace and date is not known. However it is believed he was born around 375AD in Scotland. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, were Romans living in Britain in charge of the colonies.
His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat and he took on the name Patrick upon becoming a priest.
As a teen he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland to herd and tend sheep on Slemish mountain, Co Antrim.
During his six-year captivity, he became fluent in the Irish language, he turned to God in prayer. He escaped after having a dream sent from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast where he would find a ship waiting to sail to Britain.
He is believed to have met up with his parents in Wales before travelling to France where he became a priest and later a bishop.
Patrick was sent another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him to come and walk among them once more.
He was set the task of teaching Christianity to the Irish. He travelled throughout Ireland, preaching the Gospel and converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country.
Patrick preached and converted all over Ireland for 40 years. The date cited for when Ireland was converted to Christianity is 432.
There is much debate over when and where he died. It is believed he died on 17 March, 460 at Saul, Downpatrick. That is why Saint Patrick's day is celebrated on March 17th. Some people suggest he was also born on 17 March.
The clans of Ireland began to bicker over who should receive the honour of having his final resting-place on their land. To avoid this sacrilegious end to his life his friends secreted away his body to bury in a secret grave. Many believe this to be in Downpatrick, County Down, where there is a permanent memorial.