St. Patrick’s Day Greetings!

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You’ve heard I suppose, long ago,
How the snakes, in a manner most antic,
He marched to the county Mayo,
And trundled them into th’ Atlantic
-William Maginn

Today is the feast day of Saint Patrick, as well as the anniversary of his death. While he is best known for driving the snakes out of Ireland, this is merely legend.

Saint Patrick can, however, be credited with spreading Christianity throughout Ireland. Perhaps he was so successful because he combined rituals of the nature-based pagan religion of many Irish people with his Christian teachings. For example, it is said that Saint Patrick combined an image of a sun (an important Irish symbol) with a cross to create the Celtic Cross. In addition, there is a popular legend that he used a shamrock to teach the principle of the holy trinity (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).

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So what do you think? What’s fact and what’s fiction?

References: (particularly good article)


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