The man we remember as St. Patrick was apparently born to a wealthy British family who owned a villa in what is now Wales in the 4th century AD. His name was Maewyn Succat and was kidnapped by pirates when he was 16 years old and sold into slavery in Ireland. After 6 years of hard labour, he escaped to France where he adopted the name Patrick. Eventually, he returned to Ireland where he began converting many of the Gaelic Irish to Christianity. He used a visual aid - the three-leaf shamrock - to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
The old Irish word craic refers to a spirited affair, to the fun, enjoyment, abandonment and lighthearted mischief that is often, although not necessarily, associated with drinking. I can remember students sneaking into the school before 9:00 am and turning the desks upside down and backwards along with the garbage cans and writing all sorts of mischief on the boards. Lots of fun and all done in the innocence of youth.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in all corners of the world now. Canada's own province of Newfoundland/Labrador has made it an official holiday due to the huge Irish population. It's also celebrated in Russia, Germany, Argentina, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, and around the United States. The day provides people with an opportunity to hoist a mug of green beer and celebrate their Irish heritage.
As someone who has absolutely no Irish blood, I enjoy the festivities as much as the next person, and wear something green on the day to honour my Irish friends of the past (those who arrived in Scotland and helped to fight off the French and British).
The leprechaun is a type of male fairy said to inhabit Ireland. They usually take the form of old men who enjoy partaking in mischief. He's a craft specialist (shoemaking, tanning, or metalwork) and are considered to be very rich, but thrifty. According to legend, if anyone keeps an eye fixed upon one, he cannot escape, but the moment the gaze is withdrawn, he vanishes. If one captures a Leprechaun he must be truthful and honest and tell you where he has hidden his treasure. Isn't it at the end of the rainbow?
Have a happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone, whither ye have green blood or not.
And, as the Irish are known to say,
"As you slide down the banister of life,
May the splinters never point in the wrong direction! "