With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold (and, in some cases, Irish whiskey) are filling the hearts and minds of people around the world. From Montreal to Montserrat, come March 17th people around the world seem to find the Irish in themselves. But what is it really all about? It can’t just be about the colour green, two foot tall shoe-cobbling elves who somehow also have access to pots of treasure, and three-leaf clovers, can it?
According to Wikipedia, Lá Fhéile Pádraig was once a religious holiday, named for the most famous patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick travelled to Ireland from Wales via England, in order to convert the Gaelic-Irish to Christianity in the year 432AD. For twenty some-odd years he did this, and even faced Celtic Druids along the way. He’s been honoured since his death in 461AD, though these days, here’s betting those in line ordering a Shamrock Shake at McDonalds, or queuing up at their local pub for a pint of green beer, likely don’t know who St. Patrick was, or what he was all about it.
Want to impress your friends this St. Patricks Day? Here are a few quick facts, sourced from various websites around the web:
- Why green? Because history reads that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity to his converts. As the Irish culture has evolved, the shamrock has come to represent a variety of things: the sacredness of life, to being a symbol of rebellion. Nowadays, the shamrock is one of the most identifiable symbols of Ireland one can find.
- It’s not all about the beer! Only since 1970 did the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day withthe drink. In 1903, it was decreed a religious holiday, therefore all the pubs shut down to honour the day. Sixty-seven years later, that law was overturned, it became a national holiday instead. Forty-one years after that, and we even have green beer…
- And perhaps the most surprising of all, is that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. And, his name wasn’t even Patrick! He was born in Wales, kidnapped by Irish pirates, and was sold into Irish slavery. His name? Maewyn Succat. Though after landing in Ireland, he took the name Patricius.
Now, if you want to really impress your friends? Check out the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal – its the largest in Canada! – and book a hot deal at the Sandman Hotel Montreal –Longueuil! Call 1 800 SANDMAN to find out more… Downtown Montreal is just 10 minutes on the subway, where you’ll find yourself right in the heart of all the shamrock-laden, leprechaun impersonating revelry that you can handle.