Okay, another history lesson!
I never really knew the background of St. Patrick's Day. I thought it was just a secular, Irish holiday, when you're supposed to wear green. But there's much more depth to this holiday.
Patrick was born as Maewyn Succat in England in 389 to Christian parents with a strong faith. Patrick though didn't have any interest in Christianity and was known to instead wander around with his friends, looking for adventure. One day, at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates.
He was sold into slavery in Ireland. During his first year as a slave, he began to consider God and the faith of his parents. Patrick later wrote that the Lord opened his eyes to his sin and youthful ignorance, and he converted wholeheartedly to God. After six years of bondage, he escaped and returned home to England.
About 27 years later, after being trained as a minister in France and taking the name of Patrick, he returned to Ireland. He felt led to return to the country where he had once been held captive. He ministered and preached the gospel in Ireland for 30 years, with compassion for the Irish people who were mostly pagan and superstitious. Because of his 6 years as a slave, he understood the Irish people and culture, and was well-liked by many and effective as a missionary.
Patrick used the three-leaf clover (shamrock) as a symbol of the Trinity. He performed miracles, started at least 300 churches and baptized about 120,000 people. It's unknown when he actually became known as "Saint" Patrick, but regardless, he had a huge impact upon the history of Christianity in Ireland.
He died on March 17, 461; after which the Irish celebrated his life every year on March 17th.
* Most of my information came from our homeschool history book "The Mystery of History". There are some differing stories about history of Saint Patrick, including the exact year he was born and died.