Friday is Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone’s favorite day to wear the color green and drink Shamrock Shakes. But what do you know about the man the holiday is named after? Saint Patrick lived less than five hundred years after Jesus, and he spent forty years traveling throughout Ireland, spreading the gospel to the Druid people.
While celebrating the patron saint of Ireland with corned beef and cabbage and the wearing o’ the green, share some of these facts with your kids!
- We celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17, which isn’t his birthday; it’s the day he died. We’re celebrating the day he got to heaven!
- Legends say Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but it’s more likely that there were never any snakes on the island. Today, the only reptile native to Ireland is the viviparous lizard.
- Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock (a young clover sprig) to explain the Trinity–the three persons of God—since it has three leaves growing off of one stem.
- The shortened version of Patrick is Paddy not Patty. Patty is a woman’s name; Paddy is short for the Gaelic name Pádraig, which is where we get Patrick.
- Saint Patrick wasn’t actually Irish! He was born in modern-day England, to parents who were Roman citizens.
- When Patrick was sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland, where he learned about the people of that land. When he was twenty-two, he escaped back to England, where he dedicated his time to studying his faith until he returned to Ireland.
- Traditionally, people wear green to celebrate the holiday, but in the earliest depictions, Saint Patrick is shown wearing blue.
Would you like to learn more about Saint Patrick with your kids? Read Challenge on the Hill of Fire by Marianne Hering and Nancy I. Sanders, book ten in the Imagination Station series from Focus on the Family.