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St. Patrick


Did you know that there was a real St. Patrick? No, he wasn't the Saint Patrick of legend, who supposedly chased the snakes out of Ireland. Nor was he the St. Patrick who used the three leaves of the Shamrock to teach the mystery of the Trinity to pagans. Did you know that the real Saint Patrick wasn't even born in Ireland?

St. Patrick was born toward the end of the fourth century in Roman-ruled Britain. When he was sixteen, he was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who attacked his family's estate. They took him back to Ireland and sold him into slavery. For six years, St. Patrick was a slave. Then he escaped and made his way back to Britain.

St. Patrick was a Christian by the time he returned home. He went to Gaul (now France) to study for twelve years and he became a priest. After his studies, he went to Ireland as a missionary, where he lived for the next thirty years. St. Patrick died on March 17, 461.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated as a religious holiday in the Catholic Church. He is considered a saint and it is Catholic tradition to honor their saints on the anniversary of their death, which is why St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th every year. In modern times, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by wearing green and going to parades which happen in big cities such as Boston and New York. Some cities even dye their rivers green for the day! Traditional Irish food that is eaten on St. Patrick's Day includes corned beef and cabbage.

In this mini unit, you can learn about the real St. Patrick, find out about the origins of St. Patrick's Day, look at a timeline of and watch a short video on the holiday, put together an online shamrock jigsaw puzzle and bake Irish soda bread in celebration.


Reading

Introduction to St. Patrick

History of St. Patrick’s Day


Timeline

Timeline of St. Patrick


Fun

Short video on St Patrick's Day

Shamrock jigsaw puzzle


Activities

Make Irish soda bread


Recommended Resource

Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick's Day Symbols

Shamrocks, shillelaghs, reed pipes, and leprechauns - these are some of the many symbols that remind us of St. Patrick's Day. Who was St. Patrick? And what is this early spring holiday all about? With warmth and vitality, Edna Barth tells the colorful stories, legends, and historical facts behind St. Patrick's Day and shows how the spirit of this ancient Irish holiday is still alive in many countries. Illustrated with black and white drawings by Ursula Arndt, this is a book to be discovered and read with pleasure by young readers.

 

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