The candle burning on my desk today just happens to be green, a fitting color for St. Patrick’s Day, but as I read over status postings on FB, one caught my eye. It claims genocide is the real history associated with this holiday, so I decided to dig a little deeper. Here’s what I found, and from reputable sources like The History Channel. They don’t shy away from the brutal truth.
Here’s the quick and dirty version.
St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents only to be captured by Irish raiders when he was still a young man. He was a captive for 6 years and presumably turned to his Christian faith during his hardship. Once he escaped, Patrick returned to Britain.
Then he supposedly heard the voice of God telling him to go back to Ireland where he encouraged the practise of Christianity. **NOTE: He did NOT introduce the religion. It already existed there.**
He did, however, perform a little trickery here and there, as did our friend Constantine, by mixing pagan symbols into Christian practice, thereby making it more “comfortable” for the pagans and greasing the wheels of conversion, so to speak. Nowhere did I find mention of killing mass numbers of pagans, or any hint of genocide, but throughout history change has always brought conflict and death, so I can imagine it wasn’t always pretty.
The act of driving snakes out of Ireland is a metaphor for getting rid of pagan practises. That is pretty much an accepted fact.
And what about the blue? the first color associated with “Feast Day,” now known as St. Patrick’s Day, was actually blue. However, the Irish flag has green on it, shamrocks are another favorite symbols, and heck, the whole of Ireland is pretty much and emerald. (Hence the nickname) So they went with green, especially in the 1700s when Irish-Americans paraded to show their discontent over being considered a lower social class.
There is so much more to learn. The pinching, leprechauns, shamrocks, but I’ll leave that to you. Don’t you just love history? I do. It’s where we find ourselves.
So, I’ll burn my green candle, but will wear a blue shirt. I like the authenticity, and it will make me stick out in the crowd. : )
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!