Legend has it…
Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people.

I was beginning to write about March coming “in like a lion, and out like a lamb.”  The idiom I just learned while going through subscribed emails of crochet patters, wondering why all the lions?  Apparently this idiom finds its origins through the constellations at the beginning and end of the month of March.  Leo, the lion– and Aries, the ram or lamb.  It explains the unpleasant weather that begins in this month, and subsides towards the end.

As I began thinking of all of what my brain associates with March: green, lucky four-leaf clovers, Ireland, “Braveheart“, my daughter who is 1/4 Irish… and obviously “St. Patrick’s Day“… I realized that I don’t know much about this holiday and why it is widely celebrated.  So I read about it via. Wikipedia and found out a really neat thing about Saint Patrick:

Little is known of Patrick’s early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave.  It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.

In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

I’m glad that today I learned something new about March 17th — that it isn’t just an Irish holiday celebrating St. Patrick while drinking and wearing green; but it is a day that remains a memory of a Christian man who was called by God to spread the gospel to the people of Ireland.

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