Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

Born Maewyn Succat in Britain, St. Patrick’s journey to become a saint is thought to have begun when he was kidnapped as a teen and taken to Ireland as a slave. While being held captive, Succat became a devout follower of Catholicism. After escaping and returning to Britain, Succat eventually made the journey back to Ireland as a Christian missionary.

Born Maewyn Succat in Britain, St. Patrick’s journey to become a saint is thought to have begun when he was kidnapped as a teen and taken to Ireland as a slave. While being held captive, Succat became a devout follower of Catholicism. After escaping and returning to Britain, Succat eventually made the journey back to Ireland as a Christian missionary. Because of the time he spent enslaved, he had an understanding and knowledge of Irish culture and customs, which helped him to incorporate native practices into his teachings and spread Christianity throughout the rolling green hills of the Emerald Isle. By the seventh century, he would become the patron saint of Ireland.

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Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 20, 2011

As early as the ninth century, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, typically in the form of feasts, were taking place throughout Ireland on March 17, believed to be the day St. Patrick died in 461. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t take place until March 17, 1762 … in New York City. The spread of green merriment would only grow from there.

Looking for a better life, immigrants from Ireland came to the United States after the 1840s potato famine, and many found their way to Michigan and this area, bringing with them St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Today, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart still have a lot to look forward to in the revelry of March 17 in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Whether you’re looking to start your tribute to all things Irish with a plate of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes or a tall glass of green beer, you have a lot of choices that are close to home. In Bay City, grab a pint at Coonan’s Irish Hub, the Washington Street Irish Pub, or O’Hare’s. Head over to Beef O’Brady’s or Flannigan’s Irish Pub in Saginaw, or try out O’Kelly’s in Mount Pleasant.

And don’t forget the Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 20, starting at 2 p.m. Take a look at everything you don’t want to miss at http://www.stpatparadebaycity.org/. Plus, the Clare Irish Festival is shared (like the city of Clare) with Isabella County. Check out all the fun planned for March 16 – 19, from the Leprechaun Contest to the road race, at http://clareirishfestival.com/.

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Photo by Doug Julian

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