MILWAUKIE — On March 17, many Christians celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick. America first started to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in 1762. But this holiday has been commemorated for thousands of years.

St. Patrick grew up in Britain and was taken into captivity by Irish raiders. In a dream, God spoke to him urging him to leave Ireland. He left Ireland by foot and made it back to Britain. After he studied for many years, he was ordained a priest and was sent back to Ireland. His mission was to convert the Irish people to Christianity. While teaching the Irish, he used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. The shamrock is now a common symbol for St. Patrick's Day.

Many Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day with corned beef and cabbage, which is a traditional Irish dish. This tradition was started because people were so poor and could not afford certain meals. The best meal they could afford was beef and cabbage. Today, the traditional meals also include Irish-inspired foods, such as shepherd's pie and Irish soda bread.

On March 17, students at St.  John the Baptist School will read and study the legendary St. Patrick. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is a great way to increase one's faith and learn about this important disciple.

The writer is in 6th grade at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Milwaukie.