St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend, a time of all things green including the beer. However the original holiday had nothing to do with all things green and beer.
It all started with the kidnapping of 16-year-old Maewyn Succat of Roman Britain in the late fourth century. Young Maewyn was taken to Ireland where he lived as a slave, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
The story goes on to say Maewyn had a dream that the ship in which he was to escape was ready, so he fled his master and found passage back to Britain.
Maewyn returned to Ireland around 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. He change his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest, according to Time Magazine.
The Patron Saint of Ireland passed away on March 17, 461 and had established monasteries, churches, and schools, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
His story has morphed through the years, and now includes a number of legends such as him driving snakes out of Ireland and using the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Ireland itself came to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with religious services and feasts, but the celebration gradually turned into a secular holiday of “revelry and celebration of things Irish,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Even the color green was not originally associated with the holiday as blue was commonly used in reference to St. Patrick. It wasn’t until the year of the Irish Rebellion, 1798, that the color green became officially associated with the day, according to Time Magazine.
“As for the green beer, that’s an even later addiction,” according to a story written in Time Magazine. “In fact, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that Ireland repealed a law that initially kept everything - pubs included - shut down for the day.”
Include a strong marketing push from Budweiser in the 1980s, beer is now a common way to celebrate the day, although it has nothing to do with the holiday’s origin.