On 17 March 461 AD, the foremost patron saint of Ireland – Saint Patrick – died and, according to Christian belief, passed into heaven.
The commemoration of Saint Patrick’s passing and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland was made an official Christian feast day (or 'festival day') in the early 17th century and is celebrated by Catholics and Protestants alike.
Through great deeds and persistent example, Saint Patrick converted Ireland from Celtic polytheism to Christianity. As first Primate of Ireland, he is widely recognised as “equal-to-the-apostles” (the 12 followers of Jesus).
Saint Patrick also brought from the Roman-European mainland a commitment to improving the structural soundness of dwellings, meeting places and bridges, leading to him being recognised as the patron saint of engineers.
In modern times, the Irish diaspora have enhanced the global observance and celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day, making it a de facto Irish national and cultural celebration. Traditionally, Christian fasting from foods and alcohol during the pre-Easter season of Lent was lifted for Saint Patrick's Day which, in more recent times, may have led to the day’s closer association with having a few drinks.
Celebrate this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day by:
- attending a local observance or celebration
- heading out for a celebratory pint of Guinness, donning a shamrock or wearing some Irish-green for the day
- sending the kids or grandchildren out searching for a 'four leaf clover' for luck, or otherwise enjoying and sharing the Irish sense of humour,
- watching these brief documentaries on the history of Saint Patrick and the Day
- reading further about the story of Ireland’s primary patron Saint
- familiarise yourself with the legend that Saint Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends and loved ones.
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