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Saint Patrick's Day

For our biography of Saint Patrick, click here.

There are several legends attested to Saint Patrick:


A legend holds that Saint Patrick taught the Irish about the Holy Trinity by using the shamrock, a three-leafed plant. He showed this plant as a description of three persons in one God (Father Son and Holy Spirit). Icons of Saint Patrick often depict him holding a cross in one hand and a shamrock in another.

Banishing of Snakes

It is said that when a snake tried to bite Saint Patrick while on a hilltop completeing a fast, Saint Patrick chased the snakes in Ireland down the hill and into the water.

Miraculous walking stick

During Saint Patrick's journey back to Ireland from his parent's home, he carried an ash walking stick for the journey. He would thrust the stick into the ground anyplace he stopped to evangelize. When he stopped at Aspatria, his sermon lasted so long that the stick had turned into a tree by the time the sermon was over.


Saint Patrick's Crosses

There are two main crosses associated with Saint Patrick - the cross pattee and the Saint Patrick's Saltire.

Saint Patrick's Saltire

The Saltire is a red saltire on a white field and was used in the insignia of the Order of Saint Patrick, established in 1783. After the Acts of union in 1800, it was combined with Saint George's Cross of England and Saint Andrew's Cross of Scotland to form the Union Flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Cross Pattee

Another type of Cross often associated with Saint Patrick is the Cross Pattee

Saint Patrick's Day

The feast day has been greatly influenced by the Irish diaspora in North America in modern days. Celebrations often include parades, festivals, traditional Irish music, and the wearing of green colored clothes with shamrocks. Shamrocks are often worn due to Saint Patrick's use of the shamrock to teach the Irish about the Holy Trinity. The wearing of green can first be found associated in the 11th century book named The Book of the Taking of Ireland that tells of Goidel Glas. Goidel was bit by a snake and saved from death by Moses who placed his staff on the snake bite. From that day forward, Goidel worn a green mark to remember the healing and said that he would lead his people to a land that would be free of snakes. The color was also used in the 1640s when the Green Harp Flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation, representing the sacred emblem of Ireland's unconquered soul.

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