St. Patrick's Day is widely recognized as a part of Irish culture, but what many do not know is that it is a Catholic holiday that is meant to celebrate Ireland's exposure to Christianity.
In approximately 432 A.D., a missionary wanted to convert Ireland to Christianity, but he knew the only way to do this was by converting the king.
"I wish the story of St. Patrick was a little better known and the story needs to be told more," says Father Garry Ward from St. Patrick's Church in Winnipeg.
In Ireland, they would celebrate the spring solstice by placing bonfires on top of each hill to celebrate the light. St. Patrick went to the king's home and lit his fire a day early. This upset the king, so he came out and questioned St. Patrick.
St. Patrick took this opportunity to speak with the king about the trinity. The king claimed it was impossible for three to be in one and for the father, the son, and the holy spirit to be all the same. St. Patrick then bent down and picked up a shamrock off the ground with three leaves on one stock. He then said it was not impossible for three to be in one. The king was so impressed by this that he converted to Christianity, and so did many of the people in Ireland.
The holiday which was once used to celebrate Christianity in Ireland is now being used as a way to have parties with friends and celebrate being Irish.
"In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has become a celebration of all things worldly. Like in Dublin where they have a very large parade but now it's all very commercial. For example, the floats and different companies being a part of it," Ward says.
Ward says one of the ways we can preserve the holiday is to share the story of St. Patrick with others.