It’s the day of the year when everything goes green — clothes, rivers and maybe even beer — St. Patrick’s Day, that wonderful, joyous and typically bacchanalian Irish holiday that Google is celebrating with a doodle of fiddling, dancing shamrocks.
The holiday, also known as the Feast of St. Patrick, commemorates a man considered a patron saint of Ireland and bringer of Christianity to the nation. According to a religious document called the Declaration, Patrick was kidnapped from Britain at age 16 by Irish pirates and taken back to the Emerald Isle as a slave. He “found God” while working as a shepherd there, and the Almighty told him to go to the coast where there would be a ship to take him home.
Upon his return, Patrick became a priest and then crossed the sea once again to convert thousands of Irishmen to Christianity. March 17, celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day, is believed to have been the day he died. He is also credited for banishing all snakes from his adopted home, chasing them into the sea after he was set upon during a 40-day fast he was enduring atop a hill.
This year’s Google Doodle is even more special, because it is the first time the company has enlisted an Irish native to create one for St. Patrick’s Day.
“I just wanted it to be simple,” Arklow-based illustrator Eamon O’Neill, who submitted four ideas after Google approached him, told the Irish Times.