From the Dropkick Murphys to shamrock headbands to rivers dyed green, today’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can seem disconnected from the day’s Catholic origins.
The historical St. Patrick lived during the 5th century and was born in Roman Britain. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and enslaved in Ireland for 6 years before he was able to return home. After this experience, he felt a resurgence of his own faith and a call to return to Ireland to convert the pagan population. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the day of his death, March 17th. St. Patrick’s Day was a feast day in the middle of Lent which offered a suspension of the usual restrictions on eating and drinking. (Ashgate 2009). It’s possible that this reprieve is the origin for our more modern form of revelry.
Today’s St. Patrick’s Day is an opportunity for members of the Irish diaspora (or just those who wish they were Irish) to celebrate Irish heritage, culture and history. Boston, in particular, is a city with a distinctive Irish history, from the Kennedys to the Wahlbergs. As you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Emmanuel Perhaps you’ll choose to attend Boston’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade, perhaps you’ll walk the Irish Heritage Trail, or perhaps you’ll check out the second floor book display for more information on the historical St. Patrick, Boston’s distinctive Irish heritage, and explorations of Irish history, art and culture.
Bieler, L. (2003). Patrick, St. In T. Carson & J. Cerrito (Eds.), New Catholic encyclopedia (2nd ed., Vol. 10, pp. 953-955). Detroit, MI: Gale.
Nagle, J. (2009). Multiculturalism’s double-bind: Creating inclusivity, cosmopolitanism, and difference. Burlington, VT: Ashgate publishing.