St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated March 17, the date of Saint Patrick’s death in the fifth century. In Ireland this is both a national holiday and a holy day.
As the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick was credited as the person who brought Christianity to the Irish. Although not a legal holiday in the United States, the day is recognized as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American cultures. It is estimated that about 39 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry. The day has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century.
Born to Christian parents in Wales, Patrick grew up on a wealthy family farm.
But at age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirates, carried off to Ireland and sold as a slave. There he took care of livestock. As a slave he prayed and committed his life to God. Patrick escaped after six years in slavery. He left Ireland, becoming a priest and later a bishop. Then he returned to Ireland to spread the Christian faith.
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Carolyn Tomlin is a Jackson, Tennessee-based author that has been writing and publishing since 1988. She has authored 19 books and more than 4,000 articles in magazines such as Entrepreneur, Kansas City Star, American Profile, Tennessee Home & Farm, Home Life, Mature Living, ParentLife and many others.