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-   -   Most don't know much about St. Patrick (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=79203)

snopes 05 March 2012 06:34 AM

Most don't know much about St. Patrick
 
St. Patrick's Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the United States, but a survey indicated few know why March 17 is celebrated.

http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2012/03/...9171330903309/

Onyx_TKD 07 March 2012 12:53 AM

Quote:

25 percent falsely believe St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. All evidence suggests post-glacial Ireland never had snakes.
I really wonder how they phrased this question in the poll. The comment that post-glacial Ireland probably never had snakes and reference to people "falsely believ[ing]" this implies that 25% of people taking the poll believe that St. Patrick literally went into a country with snakes and single-handedly chased every last one of them out beyond the borders. There's a huge difference between truly believing this as historical fact and believing that St. Patrick is "known for" driving the snakes out of Ireland (i.e. believing that this feat is attributed to him in legends). I wonder if their question was really phrased to differentiate between these.

For instance, if someone (or a poll) asked me a question like "Who was Prometheus?" or "What is Prometheus known for?" I would probably answer "He's the guy who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity." It wouldn't occur to me that I needed to clarify that I didn't believe this to be a literal historical fact. St. Patrick is a little different in that he seems to be a known historical figure, but wouldn't have thought I needed a disclaimer before saying something like "He's known for driving the snakes out of Ireland."

Avril 07 March 2012 03:45 AM

They know why they celebrate it, which is not the same thing as what the origins of the holiday are.

snopes 17 March 2012 05:11 AM

St Patrick's Day facts: separating myth from reality
 
This St Patrick's Day, Telegraph.co.uk looks at some of the facts and myths surrounding Ireland's national celebration.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...m-reality.html

snopes 18 March 2012 04:47 AM

St Patrick's Day: Top 10 facts
 
St Patrick's Day is being celebrated by Irish communities around the world. Here we list 10 fascinating facts about the celebration of Ireland's patron saint:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-10-facts.html

Singing in the Drizzle 18 March 2012 05:24 PM

The amazing thing is how little is know about St Patrick.

We do not know when he was born. Only it was around 385AD and in someplace around the British islands. Scotland or Wales being the most likely. His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Roman citizens. He was captured and made a slave at 14. Escaped 6 years later. Then in his 30's returned to spread the word of Jesus using the shamrock to explain the holy trinity while also teaching the Latin alphabet to Ireland. The only miracle that he is rumoured to have preformed is the removal of non-existent snakes from Ireland.

We seem to know more about the history of St Patrick's day celebration than we do about St Patrick his self.

jw 18 March 2012 05:43 PM

I read somewhere yesterday that he may not have been enslaved at all and that his family may have left Roman Britain to avoid taxes.

The snakes question is purely mythical. Sure we still have the odd few here.

I'd known that 17th March was his death date and not birthday, but I asked the question today to a few people and surprisingly they didn't know or weren't sure.

I missed the parade and events yesterday for the first time that I can recall. Seems like it was very good, as usual. http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/
We've still got another day and a half of events to go.

Mr. Billion 25 March 2012 06:04 PM

Why do people keep saying Saint Patrick "chased the snakes out of Ireland"? How do you chase anything off an island? Did he make them all get on a boat?

Quote:

The snakes question is purely mythical. Sure we still have the odd few here.
Are you saying that there are snakes in Ireland?

Richard W 25 March 2012 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Billion (Post 1606980)
Why do people keep saying Saint Patrick "chased the snakes out of Ireland"? How do you chase anything off an island? Did he make them all get on a boat?

It's a legend. I expect he made them swim.

That's a pretty annoying survey question though; I'd say the 25% of people who they say "falsely believe" he chased the snakes out of Ireland are the people who did know a bit about him. It's the first thing I'd say about St Patrick if asked who he was, but of course I don't think it's literally true.

It's almost like having a survey about Jesus, and saying that x% of people "falsely believe" that he was the Son of God, and was resurrected three days after dying on the cross...

NeeCD 25 March 2012 06:58 PM

I thought that the snakes were an allusion to the druids/pagans and that St. Patrick actually drove the druids/pagans from Ireland. It made more sense to me than believing he drove out actual snakes, but apparently, even that is wrong.

As to the OP, like Richard, if asked the question "What is St. Patrick famous for?" I'd reply "driving the snakes out of Ireland" as well.

Auburn Red 25 March 2012 08:42 PM

I'm not a Catholic, but I thought all Saint days honored the saints' death days rather than their birthdays except for Christmas and there was a reason for that

Nick Theodorakis 25 March 2012 09:45 PM

I'm not a Roman Catholic either, but rather Eastern Orthodox, but we share a lot of the calendar. Generally, you are correct, but even then the date of death may not be known and thus the feast day may be arbitrary or tied in with some other day of historical importance. The only examples of feast days I can easily recall that commemorate a birth (apart from Christmas) are for the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and for those they are recognized muliple times on the calendar.

It may seem to strange to us, but for much of the world celebrating, or even knowing, the date of your birth just wasn't a big deal. For example, my grandmother, who was born in Greece, did not know her actual birthday and basically had to make one up for US records.

Nick

diddy 25 March 2012 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Billion (Post 1606980)
Why do people keep saying Saint Patrick "chased the snakes out of Ireland"? How do you chase anything off an island? Did he make them all get on a boat?

All he had to do was get them off the island. There was nothing about St. Patrick assuring the snakes they would be safe or anything. I assume that they were forced off the island. What happened to the snakes is very open to guess.

TrishDaDish 29 June 2012 11:53 PM

They snuck back and invented green beer to tempt man. Damn snakes.

Plaintalking Yorkshirewoman 01 July 2012 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Billion (Post 1606980)
Why do people keep saying Saint Patrick "chased the snakes out of Ireland"? How do you chase anything off an island? Did he make them all get on a boat?



Are you saying that there are snakes in Ireland?

huge wink.... not any more!!!! lol


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