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Photos: St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

Wear the green and see how the world has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.

This fact about St. Patrick may shock you

St. Patrick, celebrated today with oceans of green beer and a mountain of lively shamrock attire, was Ireland’s patron saint. He used the three-leafed shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity and is said to have driven the snakes from the land.

>> Read more trending news 

The business about snakes is folklore; snakes were never there to begin with. But there’s another fact about St. Patrick that may take you by surprise.

He wasn’t actually Irish. Not originally, anyway.

According to a confession he is said to have written, he was born in the English county of Northamptonshire and brought to Ireland in bondage.

“I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many,” begins the confession, translated from the original Latin and available here via the Royal Irish Academy. “I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God, and did not keep his commandments.”

His faith blossomed during his time in captivity.

“After I arrived in Ireland, I tended sheep every day, and I prayed frequently during the day,” he wrote. “More and more the love of God increased and my sense of awe before God. Faith grew, and my spirit was moved, so that in one day I would pray up to one hundred times, and at night perhaps the same. I even remained in the woods and on the mountain, and I would rise to pray before dawn in snow and ice and rain. I never felt the worse for it, and I never felt lazy – as I realize now, the spirit was burning in me at that time.”

He did make it back to England, but he returned to the Emerald Isle of his own volition. He is said to have introduced Christianity to Ireland, starting about A.D. 450.

What is a shamrock and what does it have to do with St. Patrick's Day?

The shamrock is the most iconic symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, but what do you really know about the three-leafed plant you’ll probably see adorned on all things green this Friday?

>> St. Patrick's Day 2017: How did it get started; why corned beef and cabbage; who is Patrick?

What is the shamrock?

Merriam-Webster defines a shamrock as “a small plant with three leaves on each stem that is the national symbol of Ireland”—not to be confused with the lucky four-leaf clover.

The yellow-flowered Old World clover, according to the dictionary, is often regarded as the “true” shamrock.

History of the shamrock

Its history dates back to ancient Ireland when the shamrock, also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, represented the rebirth of spring.

During the 1798 Irish Rebellion when the English began to conquer Irish land and make laws against their language and practice of Catholicism, wearing the shamrock became a symbol of Irish nationalism, according to History.com.

But contrary to popular belief, Ireland’s national symbol isn’t the shamrock. It’s actually the harp, which you’ll find on Irish coins, state seals and the presidential flag.

And while green is the color most associated with Ireland today—arguably due to both the shamrock and Ireland’s lush nature—the national color of origin was actually a shade of blue used by the Order of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Why is the shamrock linked to St. Patrick’s Day?

According to St. Patrick's Day lore, St. Patrick used the leaves of a shamrock as a metaphor for the holy trinity. Each leaf represented either the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit.

Many representations of St. Patrick depict the patron saint with shamrocks tied to his robes, the Sun reported.

Others show him in pictures alongside shamrocks.

According to academic folklorist Jack Santino, some pictures of St. Patrick even present him driving the snakes out of Ireland—a popular, debunked legend associated with the Christian figure—with a cross in one hand and a spring of shamrocks in the other.

Learn more about the holiday, its symbols, history and legends.

Feeling tired? Take a nap for National Napping Day

If you still haven't bounced back from this weekend's springing forward, here's some good news: Monday is National Napping Day.

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According to Days of the Year, the unofficial sleeping holiday gives anyone who is still feeling the effects of losing an hour of sleep Sunday morning the opportunity to get some quick shut-eye during a catnap.

>>Related: Who's to blame for daylight saving time? It's not who you were taught 

Dr. William Anthony, a Boston University professor, came up with National Napping Day in 1999, according to Huffington Post.

He wanted to encourage people to make naps a part of everyone’s lives to help them be healthy and productive.

Anthony said they chose the Monday after daylight saving time begins because people were already in nap mode after losing that hour of sleep, Shape reported.

March 13 also marks National Earmuff Day, National K9 Veterans Day, National Open An Umbrella Day and National Good Samaritan Day, according to National Day Calendar.

Photos: Mardi Gras celebrations

Couple goes viral with Valentine's Day love song lip sync

An Indianapolis has put their love and lip sync talents on display and their video has gone viral with more than 16 million views since they posted it on Sunday.

They started posting their comedic lip sync videos since 2015 for their kids as a way for them to see how much fun the couple had when they were younger, WXIN reported

>> Read more trending news  

Every Friday they post a new video to their YouTube page

But they did an extra special one for the day of love - a mashup of love songs including "I Will Always Love You," "Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong" and "You're the One That I Want," complete with costumes matching the song.

LOVE SONGS OF THE DECADES❤️ VALENTINE'S DAY LIP SYNC ---> Love Songs Of The Decades 🎤Thanks to Costumes By Margie for helping us bring these love songs to life!______________________NEW vid every FRIDAY!Like + Comment + Share :) CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL us on Facebook us on Instagram us on Twitter#KristinAndDannyPosted by Kristin and Danny on Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mail ordered flowers fall short on Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day 2017 has come and gone, but the gifts are still here.

Some flowers hit it out of the ballpark, while others fell flat and droopy.

>> Read more trending news 

And while many said it was the thought that counted to their loved ones, they took to Twitter to complain to one mail order flower company about no deliveries, unbloomed flowers and ones that seem to be destined for a quick trip to the garbage pail.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/mail-ordered-flowers-fall-short-on-valentine-s-day/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/mail-ordered-flowers-fall-short-on-valentine-s-day.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Mail ordered flowers fall short on Valentine's Day" on Storify]

Toddler with Down syndrome melts hearts on Valentine's Day

The story of a boy with Down syndrome went viral after a local modeling agency rejected him for a clothing ad -- and now, he's melting our hearts even more this Valentine's Day. 

In July, Meagan Nash submitted her son's photos to a talent agency handling a casting call for OshKosh B'Gosh, the popular children's clothing brand owned by children's clothing retailer Carter's. She never heard anything back, and a few months later, she contacted the talent agency. 

>> Read more trending stories

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

The agency told Nash that Asher's photos hadn't even been submitted because OshKosh "didn't specify that they wanted a baby with special needs."  

That didn't sit right -- and the internet took over. 

Related: PHOTOS: Toddler with Down syndrome melts our hearts on Valentine's Day

After Asher's story went viral, an OshKosh B'Gosh representative said, "We have extended an invitation to Asher to participate in an upcoming photo shoot and are excited to include him in our advertising.” 

Now, months later, Asher is still brightening the world with his adorable smile and making everyone wish he was their Valentine.  Photographer Crystal Barbee captured pictures of Asher Nash this Valentine's Day

"I love working with Asher, he's such a happy, loving, sweet little man," Barbee said on Facebook of her photoshoot muse.

Barack and Michelle Obama share sweet Valentine's Day messages to each other

Valentine's Day may be bittersweet for some, but it's filled with love for the Obamas.

Harper's Bazaar reported that the two shared affectionate messages with each other across their social media channels Monday.

>> Read more trending stories

"Happy Valentine’s Day, @michelleobama! Almost 28 years with you, but it always feels new," the former president said in a tweet to Mrs. Obama.

Happy Valentines Day, @michelleobama! Almost 28 years with you, but it always feels new. pic.twitter.com/O0UhJWoqGN— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 14, 2017

The same message was posted to his Instagram page. Accompanying each message was a photo of Barack Obama leaning into Michelle Obama, who has clasped arms and a beaming smile.

Michelle Obama shared a photo of the two with their feet in the sand, captioning social media posts with, "Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life and favorite island mate, @BarackObama."

Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life and favorite island mate, @barackobama. #valentines A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Feb 14, 2017 at 8:04am PST

The Obamas were seen vacationing with Virgin Group founder and billionaire Richard Branson in the British Virgin Islands.

The former first couple took a break after leaving the White House and following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

The history of Valentine's Day

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Today’s version of Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romantic love, companionship and propping up the flower industry. But do you know where it came from? 

>> Read more trending stories  

The exact details of the origin of Valentine’s Day have long been a mystery, but most stories point back to at least two martyred saints named Valentine. According to the legends, the Roman Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine on Feb. 14 of different years. 

One story claims that Valentine was a priest in third-century Rome. Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed young men from marrying. When Valentine defied this order and kept performing marriages, Claudius had him executed. 

Another story claims Valentine was killed for trying to help Christians escape Roman prisons. When he was imprisoned, he fell in love with a girl and sent her the first Valentine, a letter he signed “From your Valentine.”

Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day also has pagan roots. “Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia,” according to one story. “Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.”

Today the holiday is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. 

Americans have been exchanging cards since the early 18th century. Hallmark began selling Valentine’s Day cards in 1913. The company estimates more than 110 million cards are exchanged for the holiday each year.  

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