St. Patrick was born in southwest England around AD 389, which means this patron saint of Ireland wasn’t even Irish!
When he was 15, Irish raiders kidnapped Patrick and took him to Ireland. He escaped and returned to Britain, where he dreamed an angel told him to become a missionary. He became a priest, and in 432 the Pope sent him to Ireland, where he converted the country to Christianity, according to Ruth Moran, manager of publicity & communications for Tourism Ireland (www.tourismirelandinfo.com).
Historians believe Patrick died on March 17, sometime between 460 and 490. After he became a National apostle in 688, Churches were told to honor his memory on March 17th.
The Irish identification with the shamrock even began with St. Patrick. Legend has it, he used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to a pagan king.
The earliest big St. Patrick’s Day parades were in New York City and in Boston in the late 1700’s.—little suprise, given the large number of families with Irish roots in those cities. Today, St. Patrick’s Day festivities happen worldwide (even in Japan)!
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