On March 17, millions of people worldwide will gather to celebrate St. Patrick, the most well-known of the patron saints of Ireland. Parades and parties will mark the celebration, and the brilliant shade of green that screams Ireland (the “Emerald Isle”) will permeate the day, in beer and rivers, on streets and flags, on clothing and hats and confetti.
As a powerhouse in the Celtic jewelry market, Peter Stone celebrates St. Paddy’s Day with relish, with breathtakingly beautiful and festive sterling silver jewelry to honor Irish culture, Celtic tradition, and the emblem of the day, the Shamrock. Today, Peter Stone is exploring some of the most fascinating history and information surrounding this juggernaut holiday.
Once upon a time
St. Patrick (c. 387 – 493, approximately), patron saint of Ireland, was actually of Scottish descent. In his youth, he was captured and brought to Ireland as a slave. According to one of the two remaining letters actually written by St. Patrick, his faith strengthened as his captivity lengthened—and he returned home after six years by heeding a spiritual voice that directed his escape. Not long after his homecoming, St. Patrick returned to Ireland voluntarily, heeding another call to minister to the Irish.
His time in Ireland was far from the happy, shamrock-picking vacation that our modern St. Patrick’s Day celebrations suggest. As a foreigner and a missionary, St. Patrick had a daunting task, no official status, and little protection. His evangelical message was sincere, but his audience was not always receptive. He writes that on at least one occasion, he was beaten, robbed, and thrown into chains to await possible execution.
Despite this, the legacy of St. Patrick in Ireland is one of unwavering faith and staunch support. In legend, he is credited with banishing all the snakes from the land and using the three-leafed clover to teach the trinity theory of Christianity. Though no written evidence of the Shamrock lesson has been found, and though experts believe that there were no snakes in Ireland during St. Patrick’s time, the legends live on, illuminating a faithful missionary and shining historical figure.
Happily Ever After
Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in his honor with lavish celebrations of vibrancy and excitement. The influence of the Irish is felt all over the world, as countless countries share in the festivity. No matter what continent you’re on, you’ll no doubt find a St. Paddy’s Day party, parade, or event somewhere—and if you happen to be in Chicago, you can witness the annual dyeing of the Chicago River to kick off the day—the only event of its kind, using 40 lbs of vegetable dye, and paid for by the Plumbers Union, Local 130.
Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, Peter Stone joins you in honoring the Irish and their saint, with stunning commemorative Irish and Celtic jewelry—and a hearty and heartfelt, “Erin Go Bragh!”