Born in Roman Britain during the 4th century, Saint Patrick was the son of a wealthy deacon. At the age of 16 he was captured and taken to Gaelic Ireland where he spent six years as a slave. Saint Patrick claimed god spoke to him during this trial and told him to abscond to the coast where a boat would be waiting for him to take him home.
Patrick soon returned to Ireland to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity. After years of evangelizing he died on March 17th and was buried in Downpatrick.
The 3 leaf shamrock was a symbol used by Saint Patrick to explain the holy trinity to the pagans. Experts also note that the Gaelic Irish had other three aspect deities, which could have foreseeably made the thought of conversion less abrasive to the Irish peoples.
The Feast of St. Patrick
The 17th of March was made an official Christian feast day in the 17th century to commemorate the the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. In Ireland it is a public holiday, and a 3 day event known as St. Patrick's Festival was first celebrated in 1996.
St. Patrick's day is now celebrated across the globe, from Argentina to Japan and everywhere in between.
The Color Blue and the Order of St. Patrick
Green has long been associated with Ireland and Irish traditions, however, blue was the official color chosen by the Order of St. Patrick.
The order was created in 1783 at the behest of Lord Buckingham. The Order of St. Patrick is one of several orders of chivalry though no one has been knighted under the order since the 1930s.
Drinking and St. Patrick's Day
During the Feast of St. Patrick the Catholic Church allows those observing lent to forego the restrictions of feasting and drinking alcohol, which first associated the holiday with drinking.
However, the secular world also upholds this tradition, as Ireland is known for its brewing and distilling. And, drinking alcohol is thought of as celebrating Irish culture.
Not that most cultures around the world wouldn't enjoy a reason to have a drink or two.
St. Patrick's Day in Space
They even celebrate St. Patrick's Day in space!
On the ISS Catherine Coleman played a century old flute and tin whistle, both instruments belonging to the Celtic music group The Chieftains.
While Chris Hadfield took photos of ireland from space and selfies of him wearing green clothing.
Apparently, you can celebrate being Irish anywhere in the universe.