A short history of St. Patrick’s day (As featured on www.slotomagazine.com)

Today, millions around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s day, but few know the origins of such a celebrated tradition. On March 17th, the streets in many cosmopolitan cities such as New York and Chicago will harbor hundreds of thousands of participants as they march through a town painted green.

But how did it all begin?

It has to begin with the man himself, St. Patrick, who, contrary to common sense, was not born in Ireland but in Britain and was under the control of the Roman Empire. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland, where he converted to Christianity and spent much of his life there as a missionary.

Did you know that St. Patrick was not born in Ireland? 

He died on March 17th, 461 AD, to be forgotten for centuries until legend and myth grew around his name, and Ireland adopted him as its patron saint.  A common legend tells of St. Patrick’s great influence in Ireland by driving away all snakes from the island.

St. Patrick is reputed to have taught about the Holy Trinity with the three leaves of a shamrock (or three-leafed clover). In the 18th century, Irish folk started wearing shamrocks on their coats to honor their Irish and Christian origins. Soon after, the Irish started wearing entire suits in green.

In the 1840’s there was a dreadful famine in Ireland, forcing many to migrate to the United States of America. Over half a million Irish reached New York harbors in this period, known as the Potato Famine.

With a strong Irish community in New York, the first St. Patrick’s parade was celebrated there in 1762. Today it is the Big Apple’s largest parade with over 200,000 people participating in the parade while enjoyed by close to 3 million spectators!

As many as 90% of Americans celebrate this date every year!

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