Who cares who St. Patrick was?

St. Patrick’s Day dates back in Irish history, but why do we Canadians celebrate this Irish holiday? In fact who really knows who St. Patrick was and what he did?

By Elsa Chang

St. Patrick’s Day dates way back in Irish history, but why do we Canadians celebrate this Irish holiday?  In fact who really knows who St. Patrick was and what he did?

Many young Canadians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without any knowledge of who this man was.

Duane Brown celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with his friends by putting on a green shirt bearing the pattern of shamrocks, wearing a green hat, and drinking a huge mug of green beer in front of his place on Brunswick St., next to St. Patrick’s Church.

He thinks that St. Patrick’s Day is simply a day to party, “We go downtown to have some drinks, and meet new friends.” However, he has no idea where St. Patrick’s Day came from.

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Will Hood, who considers himself to be a quarter Irish, says, “I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day because my family came from Ireland.” He says his father received Irish heritage land that was given to his ancestors by the King.

Hood celebrates St. Patrick’s day every year. He believes green is the color of spring, and the shamrock is connected with hope. “I consider that St. Patrick’s Day is the day to be reborn, and it encourages doing things you normally don’t do.”

One of the popular stories about St. Patrick is that he drove Ireland’s snakes into the sea with his shillelagh. Dorette Pronk, a professor at Dalhousie, laughs about that legend. She says there are so many stories about St. Patrick, “One of the ones I like is how he became a Christian. But the other one I heard is that he came as a missionary.”

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Pronk believes that Christianity is the reason many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Pronk explains that the Irish started celebrating St. Patrick’s Day when they immigrated to a new country, so that they could preserve their own culture.

Regardless, most Canadians who do celebrate the holiday spend the day listening to Irish music and drinking beer.

 

Related Resources
The History of Saint Patrick
St. Patrick’s Day Facts