With so much of the history of St. Patrick’s Day entangled in the folklore of many countries, it is often difficult to discern the exact origins of this holiday and its traditions. However, most historians can agree Catholics have been celebrating the feast of St. Patrick’s Day since the 17th century to honor the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Britain, St. Patrick was captured into slavery and then brought to Ireland. He later escaped to a Catholic monastery in France, then returned to Ireland as a missionary. The three leaves of the Irish shamrock are said to represent the Holy Trinity and trace back to Ireland’s Catholic roots.
In America, this celebration began in the late 19th and early 20th century as a way for the outcast Irish immigrants to honor their heritage. The first St. Patrick’s Day parades on American soil were acts of resistance against the prejudices the Irish faced when moving into a predominantly Protestant country. Today, this holiday is celebrated by people of all faiths, all around the world.
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