Why St. Patrick's Day Is On March 17th

Most historians know little about the exact date of St. Patrick's birth, some have it narrowed down to AD 373 others say AD 390. What most agree on is that he died on March 17, AD 461, and that day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day. As this poem by Samuel Lover will prove, using the best of Irish logic, he was also born on the 17th.


On the eighth day of March it was, some people say,
That Saint Pathrick at midnight he first saw the day;
While others declare 'twas the ninth he was born,
And 'twas all a mistake between midnight and morn;
For mistakes will occur in a hurry and shock,
And some blam'd the baby—and some blam'd the clock—
Till with all their cross-questions sure no one could know,
If the child was too fast—or the clock was too slow.

Now the first faction fight in ould Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of Saint Pathrick's birthday,
Some fought for the eighth—for the ninth more would die.
And who wouldn't see right, sure they blacken'd his eye!
At last, both the factions so positive grew,
That each kept a birthday, so Pat then had two,
Till Father Mulcahy, who showed them their sins,
Said, "No one could have two birthdays but a twins."

Says he, "Boys, don't be fightin' for eight or for nine,
Don't be always dividin'—but sometimes combine;
Combine eight with nine, and seventeen is the mark,
So let that be his birthday."—"Amen," says the clerk.
"If he wasn't a twins, sure our hist'ry will show—
That, at least, he's worth any two saints that we know!"
Then they all got blind dhrunk—which complated their bliss,
And we keep up the practice from that day to this.

Samuel Lover.

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