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Editor's Note: William "Smokey" Robinson was one of Motown's most prolific songwriters and generous collaborators. His contributions to the golden age of popular music are legendary. The voice, the syncopation and the dance routines were enough, in and of themselves, to establish his position as a notable figure. His lyrics only serve to reinforce that understandingSee Less
St Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Scotland or Roman England, his given name is thought to have been Maewyn Succat. He became a principle figure in Irish historySee More by virtue of his missionary work in Ireland during the 5th century.
As a youth, he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He was there for 6 years before escaping back to Britain. As a young man he traveled to France and joined a monastery. After becoming a bishop, he experienced a vision that convinced him to return to Ireland to proselytize the native populace.
For two decades, he was successful at converting the pagan Gaelic Irish to Christianity. Patrick traveled throughout the island establishing monasteries, churches and schools to aid in his mission. He promoted an indigenous clergy, nurtured monasticism, established dioceses and conducted church councils.
There are many legends associated with St Patrick. It is said that he used the shamrock, an ancient symbol of the pagan goddess Brigit, to explain the concept of the Trinity. Legend also has it that he placed the curse of God on venomous snakes in Ireland, driving them into the sea where they drowned.
Originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a more secular holiday. The Irish, in all parts of the world, celebrate it as part of their national tradition. The Catholic feast day for the Irish saint has become a holiday in celebration of Ireland and Irish culture.
Erin go Braugh
For more on the history of St. Patrick's Day, view the accompanying photos and captions.See Less