How St. Patrick's Day Works

 St. Patrick's Day celebration  St. Patrick's Day celebration
With parades, libations and more, people around the world don the color green and celebrate St. Patrick's Day each March. Clo dagh Kilcoyne/Getty Images

Regardless of your heritage, you're prob­ably very aware of St. Patrick's Day. Celebrated each year on March 17, it's a day when people from all sorts of national and ethnic backgrounds dip a toe in Irish culture. Many observe the day by sporting a bright green shirt and meeting up with friends at a favorite local Irish pub. But there's a lot more to St. Patrick's Day than simply wearing green and knocking back a pint of Guinness.

­­For instance, who was Saint Patrick? Is it true that he was taken ­prisoner by Irish raiders? Why do we devote an entire day to him? And how do shamrocks and the Blarney stone fit into this holiday's history?

As the luck of the Irish would have it, we've got the answers to these questions as well as lots more information about this historic holiday.