Celtic Culture



St. Patrick

Just Who was St. Patrick and what is the fuss all about? 


Well St. Patrick is a patronized Irish saint and one of the most celebrated figures in all of modern Christianity. Saint Patrick's Day is a religious feast festival of the Irish Catholic Christians to celebrate his life. 


Its original roots were in Ireland, St. Patrick’s home country, with the celebrations now gaining significance in many other countries, particularly America and Britain.  


Just like St. Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day (17th March) commemorates the demise of the revered patronized Irish saint St. Patrick. So, what is the legend behind St. Patrick which led to the association of a festival in his name and how is the day celebrated?

The story goes like this...

St. Patrick was originally born (in the later half of fourth century) to British Aristocrats in Scotland, or Roman England, (there seems to be conflicting opinions regarding the actual place of his birth). His birth name was Maewyn Succat. Later he was given the Romanicized name
“Patricius” leading to him become known as Patrick. 


As was the case in most aristocratic families at that time Patrick, being a younger son, was destined for the Priesthood. This is turn would bring tax incentives to his wealthy family. However when he was only 16 years old he was captured by Celtic Druids and held for six years. During this period of captivity he became much more spiritual as his duties included attending sheep. The solitude and forced captivity required his faith to keep him strong.

After six years in County Mayo, Patrick heard a voice. He believed the voice to be that of God's and it told him to leave Ireland (as was indicated in his writings many years later). He walked hundreds of miles to the coast where he was able to escape to Britain.  


From Britain he went to France where he was taught the priesthood. Once he became a bishop he again dreamt (another voice from God) of Irish people calling him and requiring his services.

This led to his return to Ireland with the firm belief of converting all the “pagans” to Christians. Even though he was arrested, by the Celtic Druids, several times he always managed to escape and never wavered in his teachings. 


Patrick's time in captivity in Ireland had influenced him greatly. He made it a practice to bring many of the Irish customs to his parishioners. He began by celebrating Easter with a large bonfire; following the Irish practice of honoring their gods with fire.  


As time passed and his reputation grew he became a figure that was larger than life. Among his many near impossible feats it is believed he completed were driving the snakes out and abolishment of the Druids at Tara. His influence on everything Christian in Ireland; however, is absolutely unmistakable. He has been singularly credited with the spreading of Christianity throughout all of Ireland. 


He actively baptized and preached Christianity throughout Ireland. To further his teachings he used diplomacy - like gifting people in kinglet's and gifting lawgivers. 

He also created the Celtic Cross by superimposing the image of a sun onto a standard cross. St. Patrick died in 460 AD, and it is commonly believed that his death occurred on March 17th - hence the day of we celebrate as St. Patrick’s Day.

For 20 years he traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the land. Among his many accomplishments was setting up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversions. Over the last several hundred years St. Patrick's legend has grown throughout the United Kingdom and particularly in Ireland.


Read More about St. Patrick's Day Celebration



Back To The Top Of The St. Patrick Page