St Patrick’s Day: 5 facts about this most Irish of celebrations –

Every year on March 17, millions of people gussy themselves up in green attire, hold big parades and guzzle pints of beer, all in the name of an old Irish saint. But what’s the story behind this emerald-hued holiday, and why do we celebrate it with shamrocks and alcohol? 

St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish

St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain — not Ireland — near the end of the fourth century, according to a 2006 report in the publication History Ireland (opens in new tab). He came from a wealthy family, and although his father was a Christian deacon, historians think he didn’t have a particularly religious upbringing. When he was 16, Irish raiders ransacked his family’s estate, kidnapped and enslaved him, and brought him to Ireland where he worked as a shepherd. He spent six years in captivity, turning to religion for solace. It’s believed that in his fear and loneliness, he began to dream of converting the Irish to Christinanity.

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