Local St. Patrick's Day offerings abound, though few know why the holiday exists

People may wear green, talk of leprechauns or hoist a drink in honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year, but few know anything about the man the holiday is named for.

Before he was St. Patrick he was Patricius, a boy born into a wealthy fourth century British family. He was kidnapped by Irish slave traders when he was 15 and taken to Ireland where he was forced to tend sheep for six years, according to the 2005 book “St. Patrick of Ireland a Biography,” by Phillip Freeman.

An atheist, he experienced a religious conversion to Christianity. One night a voice told him to escape and he walked 200 miles to a port city he’d seen in a dream. There he boarded a pirate ship and returned to Britain where he was reunited with his shocked family. They were even more shocked when he told them he would be returning to Ireland, where he spent the rest of his life converting the Irish to Christianity. He died on March 17, 461.

St. Patrick’s Day was a minor religious feast day until Irish-Americans turned it into a celebration of all things Irish. Events start today around the region.

TODAY

PULLMAN — The Pullman Senior Citizens Association will hold their annual Irish Stew lunch today. Food, including coleslaw, bread, pie and coffee, will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Senior Center in Pullman City Hall. Cost is $6, or $3 for pie and coffee only. Proceeds will go to the center.

FRIDAY

OROFINO — St. Patrick’s Day is the theme for Friday night’s 2013 Orofino Chamber of Commerce Auction at the Best Western Plus Lodge at Rivers Edge. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There will be live entertainment, a free drink and a 6 p.m. dinner catered by Dining on the Edge, with a choice of chicken cordon “green” or roast beef. Tickets are $35 for individuals or $65 for couples and will be available at the door, at the chamber office, or Lewis Clark Credit Union in Orofino; or by calling (208) 476-4335.

SATURDAY LEWISTON — Revelers will journey through nine downtown Lewiston bars Saturday at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl. The crawl starts at 4 p.m. at the Alibi. Registration is $30 and includes an event T-shirt, hat, all-access pass for pub contests, giveaways, and drink specials, free cab rides in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, and discounted hotel rates. Registration is available at any of the participating pubs, which are Sports Edition, T’z, Shooter’s Sports Bar, Mulligan’s Pub, Maddog BBQ, Pals Sports Bar, Candy Store, Boomer’s Sports Cellar and Boomtown Saloon; or by calling (208) 790-1148. T-shirt pickup is available from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Pals; and 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Alibi.

MOSCOW — The Moscow-based Irish band Potatohead will perform music for Saturday’s Palouse Folklore Society Contra Dance. Free lessons are at 7:30 p.m., with the dance from 8-11 p.m. at the 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St. Admission is $6 for members, $8 for non-members and $5 for first-time beginners.

SUNDAY WHITE BIRD — The Old Time Fiddlers will perform at the sixth annual St. Paddy’s Day Sausage Feed sponsored by the community of White Bird. The event is from 7:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at the IOOF Hall at 146 River St. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for toddlers.

PALOUSE — The 10th annual St. Paddy’s in Palouse will feature Irish music, dance and food. The event begins with an Irish dinner at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Palouse Community Center, 220 E. Main St. The menu includes corned beef, Irish soda bread, colcannon and dessert. A no-host bar with beer and wine will be available. Music by Potatohead starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-12. Younger children are free. Admission is limited to 125 so people are advised to come early. The event is sponsored by the Palouse Arts Council.

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