March 17 is a prominent date for most people who celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Some take it as an excuse to drink endless pints of Guinness while wearing a green wig, there’s a little more to it than that.
So who or what is St Patrick’s Day?
The day honours the patron saint of Ireland, but celebrations are held all around the world. Since 1961, St Patrick has also been regarded as a patron saint of Nigeria which houses up to 20 million Catholics. He is a real man who was born around 385 AD. His real name is Maewyn Succat and changed to Patrick when he later became a bishop.
However, in his teens, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland, where he was put to work as a herdsman. After six years, he managed to break free and fled back home. He became a Christian priest and led a missionary life in the mid-fifth century. He spends the next 30 years establishing schools, churches and monasteries across the country. He is said to have passed away on March 17 in the year of 461. The famous symbol behind St.Patrick’s Day that is known to everyone is perhaps the most well- known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.
Today, people from all walks of life celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, especially throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. It is also celebrated in Japan, Singapore and Russia. Initially, St.Patrick’s Day had been a religious occasion but because of the efforts of the Irish government to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world, it has now become a monumental day that involves a whole lot of drinking. Today, approximately 1 million people annually take part in Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, a celebration of parades, concerts, outdoor theatre productions and fireworks shows.