St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in the fourth century and is famous for bringing Christianity into Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day falls on the 17th of March.

Saint Patrick's Day


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Saint Patrick's Day

By Dave Collett

St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in the fourth century and is famous for bringing Christianity into Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is a very well known Irish national holiday, which is celebrated not only in Ireland but all around the world. It falls on the 17th of March.

History of St. Patrick

St. Patrick was born to wealthy parents in the late fourth century. Until the age of 16, he thought of himself as a pagan. He was kidnapped and sold as a slave at this age by Irish marauders. It was during this capture that he turned to God.

He managed to escape after being a slave for six years and then studied in a monastery in Gaul for 12 years. This was when he knew that his ‘calling’ was to try and convert all the pagans in Ireland to Christianity.

St. Patrick went around Ireland founding monasteries and successfully converting people to Christianity. The Celtic Druids were very unhappy with him and tried to arrest him several times but he always managed to escape.

After 30 years of being a missionary in Ireland, he finally settled down in a place called County Down. He died on the 17th of March, AD 461.

Legend and Folklore

Shamrocks, leprechauns and the blarney stone are associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks are three-leaved clovers found growing in patches on grass. You are thought to be lucky if you find a four-leaved clover, so do keep it if you ever come across one!

Leprechauns are little Irish fairies, and they are thought to work as shoe-makers for other fairies. The Irish say that if a leprechaun is caught by a human, he will reveal where he hides his pot of gold. On this day, pictures of shamrocks and leprechauns are hung everywhere. Some people even dress up as leprechauns complete with their big green hats!

The village of Blarney is situated northwest of the Irish city of Cork. Blarney comes from the Irish word ‘An blarna’, meaning the plain. Blarney Castle is a very famous castle in this village and is 90 feet tall. The world famous Blarney Stone is on the top story. It is said that if one kisses this stone, one will be given the gift of eloquence, meaning to have beautiful speaking abilities. Nowadays, the word blarney means the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech without offending.

Legend also says that St. Patrick could raise people from the dead. He is well-known for driving the snakes out of Ireland, although many people dispute how true this is! Another great story was how he used the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost) to his followers.

What Do People Do on St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated world-wide with people dancing and singing in Irish pubs, watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade, drinking ‘green’ beer, wearing green clothes and just generally having a good time. Children in Ireland have a tradition of pinching their friends who don’t wear green on this day!

Traditional Food and Drink on St. Patrick’s Day

Bacon and cabbage is what most people have on this day. Another popular dish is Irish soda bread and potato pancakes. Irish pub owners go crazy on this day, putting green food colouring into their beers and traditional Irish Guinness Stout is a sell out in all Irish pubs! People also drink lots of Irish coffee, which is made with warm whiskey, sugar, coffee and topped off with cream. Sounds delicious? It is!

Irish Proverbs

The Irish have many proverbs but here are some favourites.

  • Better the coldness of a friend than the sweetness of an enemy.
  • Be nice to them on the way up. You might meet them all on the way down.
  • Let your anger set with the sun and not rise again with it.

Irish Humour

The Irish are famous for their jokes and good nature. Here’s an example:

Definition of an Irish husband:
He hasn’t kissed his wife in 20 years but he will kill any man who does!

Now that you know almost everything about St. Patrick’s Day, go out on March the 17th and enjoy yourselves! Why not try and spot a leprechaun or two to find your pot of gold…?

Whatever it may be, don’t forget to wear green on this special day!




Thank you I like this lesson

Very informative, I didn't know the story of Saint Patrick.

Really good article for English learners however the tradition of pinching people for not wearing green is American not Irish.

Respect for the Irish.
hope this event will go on for generations...

Great exercise.
Thank you!

I would have apreciated a more detailed history on the acuat St Patrick but besides that it was an ok presentation.

Your texts:

Nasreen Siraj writes “Unlike other countries, we Indians have three national days. They are Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayathi. India got its freedom on August 15 and we celebrate it as our Independence Day. On this occasion each of us remembers our great martyrs. Our president hoists our national flag at the Red Fort. It is celebrated all over the country. On the same day we can see all the children carrying national flags with them. India became a sovereign country on January 26. We celebrate it as our Republic Day. On that day our president addresses the people. There is a great time had in Delhi. All the forces of our country salute the country. There is a procession which celebrates the great achievements of India, its arts and culture from different parts of the country. We celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on October 2nd. On that day we remember sour great leader. His services are remembered. We clean all our public places. It is called 'sevanavaar'.”

Ibrahim Karadag writes “Yes we have lots of special days. One of them is "Aşura Day"( I think you know this, the prophet Noah's pudding). When the Prophet Noah understood that nobody would believe any more in his divine religion, he had inspiration from Allah and started to built a huge ship. He and his disciples got in the ship. Then it started to rain heavily. All the world was covered by water. The ship stopped on Cudi mountain on “Aşura Day”. When the ship struck the bottom, the people who were on it had consumed most of the food. They added all the remaining food into a big cauldron, which included rice, wheat, dried fruits, raisins, chickpeas and fruits. They ate and when the food was finished they were full. We celebrate this day on the 10th of Muharrem (Hegira). We cook this special meal every year. And lots of people fast on this day like during Ramadan. After the evening meal the ladies offer “aşura” to their neighbours. I like this attitude. When I was a university student our benevolent neighbours brought us “aşura” and we ate and enjoyed it.”