We went to start off our St. Patrick’s week today. I asked my husband, “Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Who is St. Patrick?” He had no idea. Neither did I. So, we had to look into it a bit so we could teach our kids. I’m glad we did. Here’s the simple version we ended up relaying to our kids. We got out a map, so we could show them the parts of the world we were talking about.
Patrick was a boy who was born in Northern Wales in 389 A.D. When he was 16, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland. He became a slave there was was made to tend sheep. During his six years of slavery, he became a devout Christian. He then was able to escape from slavery and run away to France where he became a monk. In 432 A.D. he had a vision that should return to Ireland and tell people about Jesus. He brought Christianity to Ireland and taught there for 29 years. He used the shamrock, a three leaf clover and Ireland’s national flower, to teach people about the Trinity. The three leaves were there to remind people about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Patrick founded 365 churches, baptized over 120,000 people and consecrated 450 bishops.
I had no idea about the clover being used to teach the trinity. I have heard other analogies, and I do believe they all fall short theologically, but I think they are all good in some regard. There’s the egg analogy – yolk, white and shell all being one egg. There’s our own person – me being a wife, a daughter and a mother at the same time. There’s the H2O analogy – water being liquid, vapor and ice. Like I said, I do think they probably all come up short, but the best verbal description I’ve heard is that God is three in person but one in essence. This is all my own little pondering inspired by the clover analogy.
After learning about St. Patrick, the next logical question was, “Where did the leprechauns come from?” Leprechauns are apparently an Irish folklore. They are supposedly little guys dressed in RED. Can you believe it? Red. All this time. I guess that they were changed to wearing green when they were adopted as the mascot for St. Patrick’s day. So, these little guys dressed in red made shoes for people. Their gold was stashed away in a pot they stored at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release.
So, I learned something new. We told this story to the kids and found this cute10 minute video on leprechauns on YouTube. I’m so glad to have decided to find out the roots of this holiday and pass the meaning on to the kids.