March 17 is St. Patrick's Day. When I was still going to school, I remember always finding something green to wear to school on this special day. I really didn't want to be pinched, and if I failed to wear green, the inevitable happened. Who was St. Patrick and what does green have to do with this day?
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. What did he do to deserve this honor? If you listen to legend, he drove all the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea. But you know what? Ireland never had snakes in the first place, so that one cannot be true.
It is said that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the trinity to the Irish. This is also supposed to be a legend, but I can see how it would have been a good item to use for this explanation.
The legend about the shamrock is partly responsible for the color green with being associated with St. Patrick's Day, but it was not the first color to be linked with it. It started out being blue. Why? Because this was the color of the vestments that this saint wore. The color green is also the color of Ireland, and this is the country that St. Patrick is most often linked with.
What are some facts about this great man? He was born in England to wealthy parents. Up until he was around 16 years old, he was probably a pagan. When he was 16, he was taken captive by Irish marauders and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. He said that one day God told him it was time to leave Ireland, so he walked 200 miles and caught passage on a boat headed for Britain.
Later in a dream an angel told him that he was to become a missionary in Ireland. To achieve this, he went to school in France receive training for being a priest. Eventually he was made a bishop, then he returned to Ireland of his own free will to witness to the people there. Once there, he did convert many of the Irish from paganism to Christianity. The Irish had many pagan rituals of their own. In order to ease their conversion to Christianity, he combined many of their rituals with Christian celebrations.
St. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17. That is why this day is chosen to celebrate his memory and the things he did. How does all of this tie in with fiction writing?
Well, you can choose one of the legends associated with this day and write a story about it. Or you can use one of the modern ways of celebrating this day – wearing green, eating and/or drinking green food and beverages, etc. - and use as a focal part of your story. And you could always throw in a leprechaun or two.
Even better, choose a fact or myth about St. Patrick's Day (they can easily be found on the internet), write a story about it, and have it take place in a city with an Irish sounding name, one that you would associate with this day.
Below are some of the towns that you can choose from.
1) Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV
2) Shamrock, TX
3) Shamrock Lakes, IN
4) Shamrock, OK
5) Emerald Isle, NC
6) Dublin, CA
7) Dublin, OH
8) Clover, SC
9) Clover, IL
10) Clover, MN
11) Clover, PA
12) Cloverleaf, MN
13) Irishtown, IL