St. Patrick’s Day heralds in spring with its richness in green, shamrocks, and a saint born in Ireland – or does it? Surprisingly, many of the “facts” you know about St. Patrick have been twisted throughout the centuries. The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orlando have information on St. Patrick for you to share with your friends
- Blue is actually the color associated with St. Patrick.
Looking at paintings of Patrick, it is noted he wears blue vestments or the portrait contains a blue background. Ireland’s flag, coats of arms, and sports jerseys all contained blue. Green became Ireland’s color only later.
- St. Patrick was Roman, not Irish.
He was born in modern-day Great Britain as a Christian. He is associated with Ireland because he converted a huge percentage of Irish pagans to Christianity.
- St. Patrick did not choose to sail to Ireland.
Instead, he was captured by pirates who sold him as a slave once the reached Ireland’s shores. He was a shepherd for many years until he escaped six years later at the age of 22. He sailed back to England where he studied in a monastery for 12 years.
- We actually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the day of his death.
We celebrate on this day rather than the day he was born because, as a holy man, this was the day he ascended into heaven.
- The shamrock, which Patrick used in his sermons, represented the Holy Trinity.
It actually did not represent faith, hope, and love, as many people believe. By showing that one plant could contain separate “leaves” of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Irish pagans more easily understood this important aspect of Christianity. Patrick did not choose the shamrock because it was the symbol of Ireland; that honor is bestowed on the harp. His teachings led many to believe Ireland and the shamrock were closely tied.
This year on March 17, when you take in the splendor of spring, wear something blue to remember St. Patrick, and pick a shamrock to remind you of the Holy Trinity instead of Ireland. The Diocese of Orlando celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with activities and reminders of the holy life of one of Ireland’s, Great Britain’s, and America’s most beloved saints. Contact the Diocese at 407-246-4903 to learn more about how our Catholic schools in Orlando celebrate Catholic traditions.