Saint Patrick and the Spring Equinox
Patrick's day is celebrated within a few days of the
, could it be that the Spring Equinox
Festival was christianised to Saint Patrick's day and that this knowledge has been lost over time?
Saint Patrick's day is celebrated in Ireland and around the world on March 17th, the
reputed date of his death in 461AD. It wasn't until the 1600's that Saint
Patrick's feast day was placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the
Catholic Church, so the date had been passed down from generation to generation
for over a 1000 years.
The early Christian church in Ireland incorporated pre-christian
spirituality and festivals into the 'new religion', it is conceivable
that the Spring Equinox festival became christianised and rebranded as Saint Patrick's day.
The Spring Equinox is the beginning of the 'light' half of the year where the
sun is strongest and the days are longer than the nights. Saint Patrick brought
the 'light' of a different sun, the son of God to Ireland, the adaptable Irish
Celts may have simply rebranded the Spring Equinox festival to Saint Patrick's
Early Irish Celtic Christianity with its unique mix of Christian and pre-christian
beliefs and practices continued in Ireland until the Celtic monasteries were
suppressed in the 12th century. By the time the date for Saint Patrick's day was
placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the 1600's the connection with
the Spring Equinox would have been lost.
Another example of the christianisation of an older festival is Saint Brigid's day at the
beginning of February. In pre-christian Celtic times Imbolc
time to celebrate the Celtic Goddess Brigid, the Goddess of inspiration, healing, and smithcraft. After
the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, in the 5th century AD, Saint Brigid
founded a monastery in Kildare. The goddess Brigid festival was christianised to become
Saint Brigid's Day. More ...
At the 5000 year old Loughcrew megalithic cairn T in Ireland, the rising sun
on the mornings around the equinoxes (March and September) illuminate the passage and chamber.
The backstone of the chamber with its engraved sun symbols is bathed in a blaze
of golden light during the 50 minute illumination.
Boyne Valley Private Day Tours
Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour:
Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice,
Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Bective Abbey and Trim Castle the largest Norman castle in Ireland