domenica 17 marzo 2013
BRIT CULT: St. Patrick's Day
Who Is St. Patrick?
St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in the
fourth century and is famous for bringing Christianity into Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day
is a very well known Irish national holiday, which is celebrated not only in Ireland
but all around the world. It falls on the 17th of March.
History of St. Patrick
St. Patrick was born to wealthy parents in the late fourth century. Until the age of
16 years old, he thought of himself as a pagan. He was kidnapped and sold as a
slave at this age by Irish marauders. It was during this capture that he turned to
He managed to escape after being a slave for six years and then studied in a
monastery in Gaul for 12 years. This was when he knew that his ‘calling’ was to
try and convert all the pagans in Ireland into Christianity.
St. Patrick went from monastery to monastery, successfully converting people to
Christianity. The Celtic Druids were very unhappy with him and tried to arrest him
several times but he always managed to escape.
After 30 years of being a missionary in Ireland, he finally settled down in a place
called County Down. He died on the 17th of March, AD 461.
Legend and Folklore
Shamrocks, leprechauns and the blarney stone are associated with St. Patrick’s
Day. Shamrocks are threeleaved clovers found growing in patches on grass. You
are thought to be lucky if you find a four-leaved clover, so do keep it if you ever
come across one!
Leprechauns are little Irish fairies, and they are thought to work as shoe-makers
for other fairies. The Irish say that if a leprechaun is caught by a human, he will
reveal where he hides his pot of gold. On this day, pictures of shamrocks and
leprechauns are hung everywhere. Some people even dress up as leprechauns
complete with their big green hats!
The village of Blarney is situated northwest of the Irish village of Cork. Blarney
comes from the Irish word ‘An blarna’, meaning the plain. Blarney Castle is a very
famous castle in this village and is 90 feet tall. The world famous Blarney Stone is
on the top story. It is said that if one kisses this stone, one will be given the gift of
eloquence, meaning to have beautiful speaking abilities. Nowadays, the word
blarney means the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech
© BBC | British Council 2010