While St. Patrick's Day is now associated mostly with "all things Irish," it is actually a celebrated by Christian people around the world. Most people think of St. Patrick's Day as celebrating in green and gold, wearing shamrocks, and eating corned beef and cabbage. Yet, for Christians there is a deeper meaning to St. Patrick's Day that Christian teens can learn about and practice.
Why March 17th?
There are several theories as to why St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th each year, but most people believe that it is because St. Patrick died on March 17th in AD 461. As the Irish emigrated from Ireland, they took their holiday and celebrations with them, allowing everyone to partake in the celebration of Ireland's patron saint.
How is St. Patrick's Day Commemorated?
While many people know about wearing green and shamrocks, there are other spiritual celebrations that take place on St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland virtually all businesses close on that day. Special masses take place in churches around the world, and Christians partake in prayers for missionaries around the world. Often these services precede exuberant celebrations.
In cities around the world with large Irish populations the post-mass celebrations include parades, Irish music and songs, and Irish food and drink. Some cities plan large celebrations. For instance, the city of Chicago dyes the river green every year in commemoration of the holiday and Boston hosts one of the most prominent St. Patrick's Day parades around the world.
What Does St. Patrick's Day Mean for Christian Teens?
St. Patrick's Day is a celebration that holds a lot of spiritual meaning for Christian teens. First, the holiday is a traditional day for spiritual renewal. It is a day that Christian teens can use to reflect on their spiritual walk and reflect on their relationship with God. St. Patrick found that renewal, because he considered himself a pagan before he became a slave and discovered his relationship with God through prayer.
Second, Christian teens can use the time to pray for missionaries around the world and consider the calling on their lives to become missionaries either in their schools or in other areas of the world. St. Patrick was adept at speaking and converting pagans in Ireland, and he faced many trials due to his mission work. Missionaries today face many of the same trials, and need the prayers of Christians near and far.