Monday, March 25, 2024

Interesting Facts About St. Patrick’s Day


By Jennifer Uhlarik


Only a week or so ago, the United States celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll be honest, despite the fact that my family has a largely Irish ancestry, that day passed mostly unheralded in my household. Yes, I wore green, but outside of that, we didn’t celebrate the day. Again, being honest…I’ve never really understood the purpose in the holiday, other than for cities to flood their rivers with green dye and people to color their beers the same way.

Chicago River dyed green for
St. Patrick's Day.


So Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Since the 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day has been known in Christian denominations that venerate the saints as his traditional feast day. Not only does it celebrate the life of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, but also the coming of Christianity to Ireland. Originally, it was celebrated only in religious circles as a quiet day of introspection and prayer, but as the Irish left the Emerald Isle and came to other countries (particularly the United States), it began to take on a larger meaning of celebrating one’s Irish culture and heritage.


Knowing these facts, it would be easy to assume that the man who spawned the celebrations on March 17 each year was a native of Ireland. However, such assumptions are wrong. Patrick was born in Great Britain around roughly A.D. 385. Beyond that, his family was thought to be part of the Roman aristocracy, so his parents or generations before them could’ve been from the area we now know as Italy. In other words, his true heritage is a mystery.

Stained glass window from St. Benin's
Church commemorating St. Patrick.

How Did Patrick Become the Patron Saint of Ireland?


In fact, that journey started before Patrick even came to know Christ as his Savior. At the age of sixteen, young Patrick’s well-to-do family lived on a British estate which came under attack by Irish marauders. So as a teen, Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years enslaved and tending sheep. He spent much of that time scared and alone, so he prayed. And in those prayers, he came to know and love Christ.


After six years in captivity, he believed God spoke a word to him that it was time to leave Ireland. The bold young man left his place of captivity (thought to be County Mayo) and walked to the coast and ultimately escaped back to Britain. There, with his newfound faith in Christ, he began pursuing training to become a priest, and at some point during that fifteen-year training process, believed God told him to return to Ireland, both to support the Christians who were already there and to convert others to Christianity. He devoted his life to this new mission.

Did St. Patrick truly banish the snakes
from Ireland?

Is It True That St. Patrick Banished Snakes from Ireland?


If you’ve heard any lore regarding St. Patrick, you’ve probably heard this story—that while preaching a sermon in the Irish countryside, his words were so empowered that it drove every snake from Ireland. Far be it from me to say that the power of God couldn’t fall and such a miraculous event occur…I firmly believe God can do anything and miracles still occur today. However, common consensus on this detail of Patrick’s life leans toward it being false. Some even say that it was more of an allegorical tale that used snakes to represent the pagan beliefs of many Irish people of that day. So rather than driving serpents from the land, Patrick drove out the pagan rituals and reliance on false gods.


There are plenty of other interesting facts about this March 17th holiday that I could share, but this gives you the historical background of the man on whose life and ministry the original day was founded upon. 

Shamrocks (i.e. 3-leaf clovers)


It’s Your Turn: Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and if so, how do you commemorate the day?


Award-winning, best-selling novelist Jennifer Uhlarik has loved the western genre since she read her first Louis L’Amour novel. She penned her first western while earning a writing degree from University of Tampa. Jennifer lives near Tampa with her husband, son, and furbabies.





Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik


A Friendship From the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family


When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. There, she finds a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek museum curator Brad Osgood’s help to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it another forgery?


Brad Osgood longs to provide his four-year-old niece, Brynn, the safe home she desperately deserves. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.


Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians reach St. Augustine, God changes their plans. However, when Sally Jo’s friendship with Broken Bow leads to false accusations, it could cost them their lives.


Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?



  1. As a Scots-Irish I never wear green. Orange the color of the Scottish Presbyterians who came to Ireland with William of Orange would be the right color to wear to celebrate my heritage. I learned so many things regarding St. Patrick during a recent trip to Ireland you have only touch the surface. Thanks for sharing. While there I learned there were never any snakes in Ireland.

  2. Thank you for posting today. In a nod to the holiday when I worked, I might have worn something green but St. Patrick's Day has never been a big thing for our family.