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Did you know that St. Patrick was actually born in Kilpatrick, Scotland? And his given name was Maewyn.

According to Irish legends, he was captured when he was 16, taken to Ireland and sold as a slave. It was while he was in Ireland tending pigs that he learned the language and the customs of the Irish. He escaped one day from the Irishmen with hopes of someday returning to convert everyone to Christianity. He traveled to France and became a priest. During the time of his priesthood he obtained the name Patricius.

It was in 432AD that Patricius was sent back to Ireland to fulfill his mission. With a drummer leading his missionary journeys, he marched into the Irish communities spreading Christianity. The shamrock is the Irish symbol that St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity to his pagan flock (it had 3 leaves yet was one plant-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost).

It wasn't long before Patricius became a bishop, founding many churches and performing many miracles. The most well-known of all of his miracles is the banishing of the snakes out of Ireland. According to a legend, it was the playing of the drum that chased the snakes away.

St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in the United States, in Boston, around the time of the Revolutionary War. It was the Irishmen serving in this war, which brought us our first St. Patrick's Day. Later New York and Philadelphia followed with their celebrations. Indeed, people come from Ireland to see New York's parade, the largest in the world.

Don't forget to be wearin' your green and celebrate this American custom on Sunday, March 17th here in Fort Wayne. A parade downtown will start off the celebration at 4pm at the corner of Fairfield and Wayne and will proceed to Harrison, then west on Berry and back to the Scottish Rite at 407 West Berry. A dinner will be served in the Valencia Garden Room featuring Irish Stew and Green Camels Milk (beer). A dance will follow with the JunkYard Band playing from 6-9pm. The cost is $25/couple for dinner and dance and $15/couple for the dance only. You may call for reservations at 426-4543.


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