March 17th is a special holiday in Ireland: it’s St.Patrick’s Day, the patron saint of Ireland.
The real name of the saint was Maewyin Succat and he was of Scottish origins. At sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold as a slave to the king Dalriada, who dominated the territories of Northern Ireland and Scotland. Here he learned the Gaelic language and knew the Celtic religion. He was imprisoned for six years, returned home and converted to Christianity. He became a deacon with the new Latin name of Patrick, later a priest and then a bishop. Pope Celestine I entrusted him with the task of returning to the lands where he had been imprisoned and propagating the Gospel.
After his death, occurred in 461, lots of stories and legends about the saint arose. St.Patrick’s myth is based on two episodes: Patrick was used to pray inside of a very deep cave, and in medieval times the story about “St. Patrick’s Well” , a bottomless cavity where treasures were hidden, originated. According to another tradition, in Ireland there aren’t any snakes because St. Patrick dropped a bell from a mountain with so loud noise that all the snakes of the island dove into the sea.
On March 17th people celebrate St.Patrick’s Day around the world, but only in Ireland it’s a national holiday. Parades are organised, people wear green clothes and drink a lot of beer, the typical drink of Ireland. In Chicago pubs serve green beer, and even the river in the city turns green!
The shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland, and wearing a shamrock on St.Patrick’s Day is very lucky!