Most so-called Christian holidays have a pagan origin. Saint Patrick's Day may be a little different. Although, today the holiday is certainly wroth with pagan idolatry, this appears to be a case of a non-Biblical Christian holiday being made pagan rather than the usual pagan holiday being made Christian. Saint Patrick's Day is a relatively modern holiday. It was probably first celebrated in the 10th century by the Irish in Europe as a kind of national day. The Catholics began to celebrate it as a feast day for a Saint named Patrick in the 1600's. It was not named as a holiday in Ireland until 1903. There are many different sources stating various birth and death dates for Saint Patrick. These dates are usually in the 300 or 400's. Occasionally the 500's are mentioned. Even Wikipedia lists at least two different dates.
Saint Patrick's Day is a religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 387-461),
Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Primitive Irish: *Qatrikias; Old Irish: Cothraige or Coithrige; Middle Irish: Patraic; Irish: Padraig; British: *Patrikios; Old Welsh: Patric; Middle Welsh: Padric; Welsh: Padrig; Old English: Patric; c. 387 - 17 March, 493) was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary
One thing these sources seem to agree upon is that he died on March 17th so this is why Saint Patrick's Day is on the 17th of March. I find it ludicrous that the day of his death can be pinpointed so precisely but the year of his death remains such a mystery. Some sources have his age at about 78 while others have his age at over 105. While either is possible the former seems more likely. It is worth noting that the spring equinox falls on the 20th or 21st of March and is celebrated by pagans. It appears that some pagans have shifted their day of celebration to coincide with Saint Patrick's Day.
According to most sources St. Patrick was not Irish but was kidnapped when he was 16 years old and was brought to Ireland as a slave. He spent about 6 years in captivity before he was able to escape captivity and hop a ship back home. Home may have been what is now known as Britain. Some say Patrick's faith in God grew to the point that he was praying 100 or more times per day and another 100 or more times per night. He apparently received a Catholic education and returned to Ireland as an ordained Bishop on a mission to Christianize the pagans. There are claims that he murdered pagans who would not convert. I haven't seen any reliable sources to substantiate these claims. There is little known about exactly where all he traveled in Ireland although there are various places carrying his name. He is associated with a bell, a goblet and "the angel's gospel" which were supposedly stolen from his tomb about sixty years after his death. The tale of the robbery sounds more like fiction as the robbery was ordered by an angel who later handed "the angels gospel" to the robber. Nevertheless the National museum in Ireland has a bell that is said to have belonged to Saint Patrick. St. Patrick has never been formally canonized by a Pope due to changes in Catholic procedure. He is considered by many churches to be a saint and is included in the list of saints.
There is much ambiguity surrounding Saint Patrick but we can be pretty sure that there was a bishop who attempted to convert the pagans of Ireland to Christianity. How did the celebration of that Bishop become to be celebrated by wearing green, displaying shamrocks, drinking lots of beer and talking about leprechauns? It is said that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the trinity. There appears to be no valid source for these rumors. Some pagans claim the shamrock was used to signify the trinity of a mother goddess. This appears to be a relatively modern tradition that was apparently designed to counter the trinity explanation. In truth, the shamrock just appears to be a symbol of Ireland that has been adopted by the Catholics and the pagans. The wearing of green didn't come until the 17th century and is probably attributable to the inclusion of the shamrock in the celebrations. The leprechaun was said to dress in red as late as 1830. The change to green was again probably due to the inclusion of the shamrock in Saint Patrick's Day celebrations. The leprechaun is pure pagan and has been added to Saint Patrick's Day celebrations. It is worth noting here that the "green man" is a pagan idol symbolizing regeneration or regrowth and may be associated with spring equinox celebrations. The "green man" is a face with plants and leaves growing out of different orifices of the face. It is possible that the green in Saint Patrick's Day has been included in an attempt to more fully incorporate the holiday into the pagan religion. The drinking of beer is probably based on the stereotypical image of the Irish being heavy drinkers.
Saint Patrick's Day appears to be an anomaly among so-called Christian holidays in that it appears to have a legitimate Christian, albeit unbiblical, beginning. It has however been taken over by pagan symbolism and has become an excuse to indulge in drunkenness. In the end, it does not matter whether a pagan holiday is "Christianized" or a Christian holiday is "paganized", Christians should avoid it. We are commanded over and over throughout the Bible that there should be no mixture of light and dark which symbolizes good and evil. God separated the light from the dark on day 1
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
God saw that the light was good. God did not see that the dark was good. God separated the light from the dark. Many people misinterpret this verse as meaning that the sun was being created here. The sun was created on day 4
Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
There are numerous verses in the Bible which tell us not to mix good with evil, or light with dark I will not repeat them all here, but will mention just one.
2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
It does not get clearer than that. We should avoid this holiday in our service to, and out of love for, the one true God. God gave us Holy days that we should celebrate. This is not one of them.
Sources: March 14, 2011