A look at Saint Patrick
With the coming of St. Patrick's Day and all the hoopla that surrounds it in Savannah, I think it's good to take a moment to consider the origins of this most festive holiday. I like to explain to my kids the meanings behind events when I can, and St. Patrick's Day is a great opportunity for some basic investigation.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17 to commemorate the date when St. Patrick died. Patrick lived from 387 to 492. At the age of 16 he was taken as a slave to Ireland where he worked as a herdsman for 6 years before escaping and returning home to Britain. He wrote that his faith grew while he was a slave, and years later he ventured back to Ireland as a bishop to share the message of hope and freedom found in the gospel.
Patrick is credited with bringing thousands of people to faith in Christ. Legend claims that he used the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the doctrine of the Trinity â€“ that God is three persons yet one God. Thus, the shamrock, not the four-leaf clover, is the symbol of St. Patrick's Day.
In Ireland St. Patrick's Day is celebrated as a solemn and holy day, while elsewhere the day is seen more as a celebration of Ireland. In Savannah, for many it seems to be just another excuse to party.
Whatever your plans for the holiday may be, I think it's good to recognize the original significance of the day. Even if you don't share his faith, there's no denying that Patrick lived an extraordinary life and made a tremendous impact on his world. If you do share his faith, he's somewhat of a hero (or even... a saint).
So think about Patrick this weekend, tell your kids the story behind the hype, and celebrate. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Erin go Bragh!