Have you ever wondered who Saint Patrick is? Or why we have to wear green on the 17th of March every year or risk getting pinched by all your friends? The 17th of March was the day that Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, died. At the age of sixteen, Patrick, whose original name was Maewyn, was sold into slavery. After six years of working as a swineherd, he escaped and went back to his former home of Kilpatrick. What happened after he escaped is hard to exactly pinpoint because so many contradicting stories have been told, it is hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.
The most famous legend about Saint Patrick was that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. He was said to have done this by beating a drum. On one occasion, he beat the drum so hard that he left a hole in it. An angel swept down from the sky and mended the broken drum. He also made the soil fatal to all serpents who touched it. But one day there was a stubborn snake that refused to leave. Saint Patrick constructed a box and tried to lure the snake into it. The snake refused, stating that the box was too small. Saint Patrick told the snake that it was big enough and to just give it a try. The snake agreed, just to prove that the box was too small, and he entered the box. Saint Patrick immediately closed the lid on the snake and threw the box, snake and all, into the ocean.
Thousands of mourners came to Saint Patrick's funeral in the year 493. in his honor, the Irish carried a green flag down the street. Many churches and towns in Ireland are named after him, and his holiday is observed in countries all over the world. On this day, everyone wears green. Shamrocks are used in decorating clothing and other items. There is also a flamboyant parade in New York to celebrate this holiday.
The color green has always been associated with Saint Patrick's Day. In some parts of the country, dry cleaners offer to clean green clothing on this holiday at no charge. It has been known that car washes are also generous on this day. A car wash in California offered to clean all green cars for free. President Sean O'Kelly of Eire visited the U.S. in 1959 and was quite shocked that the color green is connected with the Irish. He stated that his countrymen do not even like the color green because it brings back to many displeasing recollections of when Ireland was not free.
Although Saint Patrick and Ireland have no relation with the color green, it does not mean that you and your friends can not still wear this color on Saint Patrick's Day. Wearing green is still a great tribute to this remarkable man.
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