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By Tomas Muelling // Illustration Credit: Tomas Muelling

Everyone knows about all the common St. Patrick’s Day symbols and traditions that are present every March 17. The shamrock, pinching someone if they don’t wear green on St. Patty’s, the leprechaun and just that fact that green is everywhere. So how about we peel back the layers of this Irish holiday and what happened in history to make it what it is today. Let’s start with the origin of the name itself: St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick was kidnapped as a slave and taken to Ireland as a slave. He claimed that he was told by God to escape to a ship and return to Britain; he succeeded in doing this and became a priest during his time in Britain. Eventually he returned to Ireland to Christianize the native people from their previous polytheistic beliefs. In succeeding he became a patron saint. The holiday itself commemorates his death. There are many symbols associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but the most common is probably the shamrock—or the three-leafed clover native to Ireland. Now this symbol has long been part of this holiday because it is told that St. Patrick used this particular plant to explain the Christian concept of trinity to all the Irish. The color commonly associated with the holiday is green. It is assumed to be the color of the holiday because of Ireland’s famed emerald coast between the lush green wooded county side


EiS 03.08.13


and emerald coastal waters. Now for the history behind those little men so common to St. Patrick ’s Day: Leprechauns. They are, as most people know, small old Irish men clothed in green. It is unclear where they came from, but clearly they have been part of Irish mythology for a very long time. They have been described in texts from the 1800’s and even before. The name comes from the old Irish word “luchorpan,” which is translated to small body. Those are the basics of St. Patrick’s Day. We hope you learned why we do what we do when we do it on March 17. Keep your eyes out for Leprechauns. E

Etched In Stone: 03-08-13 Issue  
Etched In Stone: 03-08-13 Issue  

Cover Story: --The Meaning of Cool Featuring: --Month In Review --Spring Break --New Music Plus: --St. Patty's Day --Sudoku and Word Search...