St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday held annually on March 17. Named after the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, the day celebrates Irish heritage with food, parades, drinks, Irish lore, and an assortment of green-colored things—green beer, anyone?
Today the holiday is celebrated around the world, with much of the modern traditions inspired by Irish expatriates in the United States.
Maewyn Succat wasn’t particularly religious growing up—or even Irish, for that matter—so it’s a bit surprising that he became patron saint of Ireland.
Born in Britain around A.D. 390, Maewyn grew up in a well-to-do Christian family, complete with slaves and property. At 16, however, Maewyn was kidnapped and whisked away to Ireland where he himself became