Aching Prosperity -> Group News and Articles -> The Conjunction of St. Patrick’s Day and Purim in 2022

The Conjunction of St. Patrick’s Day and Purim in 2022
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Written by
Pastor Ty Alexander
This year there are two holidays on March 17th. The most well-known is St. Patrick’s Day, which I’m sure most people here already knew. It also always occurs on March 17th every year, but this year, the Jewish holiday of Purim is also today. Jewish or Hebrew holidays have dates that jump around on the calendar year, because like Pascha/Easter, they are scheduled by lunar months where the beginning of a month is when a New Moon occurs – when the moon is completely dark and no crescent is visible or when the first sliver of crescent is visible, depending on how you define a New Moon.

Since St. Patrick’s Day and Purim coincide this year, I want to bring up aspects they share.
  • Both holidays celebrate God’s work in saving peoples – St. Patrick saved the ancient Irish people from their pagan ways to become co-heirs with Christ, and God used the heroes of Purim to save the ancient Jewish people from genocide.
  • Both histories have heroes that were enslaved in foreign countries where God would use them to bring salvation – St. Patrick, who was from Britain, was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish pirates when he was 16 years old[1.1]. The heroes of Purim in the Bible’s Book of Esther were Jews living in Persia decades after the Jewish people were conquered by Babylon and scattered and enslaved throughout the Babylonian and later Persian empires.

    The primary Jews in the story of Purim are the older Mordecai and his young cousin, Hadassah, whose name means myrtle[1.2], and who Mordecai became a guardian of when she was orphaned. She later took the Persian name, Esther, to keep her identity as a Hebrew secret.

    Patrick fled enslavement in Ireland after six years, but God called him back many years later through a dream vision where the Irish people presented him letters that begged him to come and walk among them again[1.1]. Despite protests from his parents and friends who thought the mission was too dangerous, Patrick went back to Ireland when he was a bishop of the church and began his life of becoming the most famous apostle to Ireland, baptizing thousands unto Christ and appointing many church clerics there. This was God’s work to bring the wisdom and salvation of Christ to the Irish people.

    God used Esther and Mordecai in the Book of Esther to keep His people from being completely destroyed by an irrevocable royal decree schemed by the villain Haman. I won’t go into all the details here, but there are many dramatic turns of events that save the Jews and make the reading of the Book of Esther worthwhile.
  • Both holidays celebrate work to vanquish God’s enemies – St. Patrick’s work in Ireland vanquished the most prominent enemies of God there at the time – the pagan religious and spiritual traditions of the ancient Celts and Irish. For Purim, God’s enemies were also the pagan cultures of Babylon and Persia, but they were especially embodied by the main villain in the Book of Esther, Haman, the Persian king’s highest councilor who hated the Hebrews because Mordecai refused to honor him.
  • Both holidays have celebrations usurped by modern, secular (non-religious) influences, like Christmas and Pascha/Easter have – Today, St. Patrick’s Day is dominated by raucous, alcohol infused celebrations that mainly honor Irish culture rather than God’s work in St. Patrick. Modern Purim celebrations also have become more focused on fun and costumes (like Halloween, Mardi Gras, and Carnival) and gift-giving (like Christmas) rather than God’s hand in turning disaster into joy. Go here to learn more about Purim...
I hope this year’s joining of St. Patrick’s Day and Purim will bring you to a better understanding of history and your own cultural heritages, whether it is Irish, Hebrew, Christian or a mix of them all. And I'd like to remind Christians not to ignore Jewish holidays, like Purim, because under Christ there is no longer Jew or Greek (Gentile), for we are all now one People under Christ the Maschiach/Messiah (Romans 10:12-13; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-22, 3:6; Colossians 3:11; 1 Peter 2:9-10; also Romans 12:4-5).

[1.1] "Saint Patrick's Confessio". Royal Irish Academy. Original manuscript circa mid-5th Century AD. Retrieved 2022 Mar. 16.

[1.2] "Notes for Esther 2:7". NIV Study Bible (NIV 1973, 1978, 1984). Page 716. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan. 2002. Print.

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