Today is Saint Patrick’s Day which is celebrated across the world by millions of people every year on March 17.

The Feast of Saint Patrick is a celebration of Irish history, culture, and heritage which marks the death of the patron saint of Ireland.

It has been a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland since 1903, and is a public holiday in Northern Ireland.

Who was Saint Patrick?

St Patrick was a 5th century Christian missionary who is said to have brought Christianity to Ireland.

It is believed that he was born in Scotland during Roman times, into a wealthy family - his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church.

According to the Declaration, which St Patrick is said to have written himself, he was kidnapped at age 16 and taken to Ireland where he was enslaved as a shepherd.

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During that time he is said to have found God.

It is believed that St Patrick fled to the coast and escaped on a ship.

Once free he trained as a priest and returned to Ireland to convert the Celtic Pagan people to Christianity.

Tradition credits him with being the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland.

St Patrick is traditionally associated with the shamrock, a three-leaved-clover, and is often depicted holding one.

The shamrock is significant to Christians as a symbol of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit.

What is the legend of St Patrick?

According to legend St Patrick rid Ireland of snakes, by driving the reptiles into the sea after they began attacking him as he endured a 40-day fast.  

However, this is most likely a metaphor for his defeat of non-Christian religions – depicted as a snake to symbolise evil.

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Why is St Patrick's Day celebrated in Scotland?

Many people fled the Irish Famine, of 1845 to 1952, by immigrating to Scotland and therefore many Scots can trace strong ancestorial links back to Ireland.

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How is St Patrick’s Day celebrated?

St Patrick’s Day was originally a religious feast to celebrate the work of the patron saint of Ireland, but it has since evolved into a global celebration of Irish history, culture, and heritage.

People take part in street parades and dancing, with bands playing live music, they indulge in traditional Irish food and drink, and enjoy firework displays.

The day is famous for participants sporting vibrant green, clad in the tricolour and the shamrock, with many dressing up as leprechauns – a mythical fairy from Irish folklore.

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However, for the second year in a row, celebrations will take place online and large parades will be replaced with virtual events, due to the ongoing pandemic.

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