The lucky holiday in the spring is here! (A shout out and happy birthday to my brother!) I’ve mentioned before that I like thinking about the history of holidays, like Halloween. Turns out that St Patrick’s Day has evolved quite a bit as well. The day of luck, green, shamrocks, drinking, and Irish accents, didn’t start with any of that.
Most of us know that the holiday is to commemorate St Patrick. But the other traditions were picked up later on. Originally, March 17th was a day for Ireland to feast, go to mass, and wear blue, while all the pubs closed (no drinking). The celebration was in remembrance of St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland.
Drinking started because beer companies put out advertisements for the season. A war with Britain brought on the color preference of green. St Patrick used the shamrocks to teach about the Trinity. I really don’t know where luck and leprechauns came from.
From what I have read, St Patrick wasn’t actually made a saint, and his real name wasn’t Patrick. But he went by the name Maewyn (as well as others), and in Ireland, he was honored as a saint, because he brought Christianity. St Patrick became a symbol for Ireland, because of what he did for the country. The shamrock is a symbol of the Holy Trinity, as well as how St Patrick taught the Irish.
St Patrick converted to Christianity while he was a slave in Ireland. I find this the most interesting part. His father was a deacon, but Patrick didn’t really believe. Kidnaped as a teenager by pirates, seemed to help him find faith. I imagine that religion was a symbol for him to hold onto while he was a slave. It must have reminded him of home and probably helped him get back eventually.
These symbols have a representation powerful enough that they may seem to bring good fortune, or luck. Just as you have lucky socks or other items that give you a sense of comfort or hold special meaning for you. A symbol is something that has a greater meaning than visibly seen. In writing, a symbol can be used for foreshadowing, dramatizing, and including themes.
I have used symbols in my life to help me focus and remember my goals, generally through words. Symbols are everywhere; holidays, logos, wedding rings, and brands are all examples of symbols. So, for your celebration of St Patrick’s Day, choose some symbols to be your lucky charms to remind you to be better and/or more creative.