A cultural and religious event known as Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is commemorated on March 17 in honor of Saint Patrick, the most important patron saint of Ireland (c. 385–c. 461).
The Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (particularly the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church all mark Saint Patrick’s Day, which was proclaimed an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. The holiday honors Saint Patrick, the introduction of Christianity to Ireland, and the Irish people’s heritage and culture as a whole.
Celebrations typically include céilithe, wearing green clothing or shamrocks, and participating in parades and festivals open to the public. Historically, the Lenten prohibitions on eating and drinking alcohol were eased for the day, which fostered and spread the holiday’s history of alcohol use. Christians who belong to liturgical faiths also attend church services.
The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland, Labrador, the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat, and the Canadian province of Saint Patrick’s Day are all recognized as public holidays. In addition to being widely observed in Ireland, it is also commonly observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
More nations than any other national holiday observe Saint Patrick’s Day. The Irish diaspora has had a significant impact on modern festivals, especially those that originated in North America. However, the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities have come under fire for becoming overly commercialized and for feeding unfavorable preconceptions about the Irish.
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About Saint Patrick.
Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland during the fifth century, Saint Patrick. The Declaration, which Patrick is said to have authored, is where most of what is known about Saint Patrick originates from. He is thought to have been born in a prosperous Romano-British family in fourth-century Roman Britain. His grandpa served as a priest in the Christian church, and his father was a deacon.
He was abducted as a slave to Gaelic Ireland at the age of sixteen, the Declaration claims, by Irish pirates. He reportedly worked as a shepherd there for six years, and it was during this period that he allegedly discovered God. According to the Declaration, Patrick was instructed by God to run to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to transport him back home. Patrick returned home and later went on to become a priest.
Tradition has it that Patrick went back to Ireland to baptize the heathen Irish. According to the Declaration, he spent many years evangelizing in Northern Ireland and won thousands of souls.
Despite the fact that snakes were not known to live in the area, Patrick’s actions subsequently became an allegory in which he drove “snakes” out of Ireland.
According to tradition, he passed away on March 17 and was buried in Downpatrick. Patrick became Ireland’s most revered saint throughout the ensuing centuries as a result of the various legends that developed around him.
Saint Patrick’s Day’s Celebration And Traditions.
The Saint Patrick’s Day festivities of today bear a strong resemblance to those that originated among the Irish diaspora, particularly in North America. Up to the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was frequently celebrated throughout the diaspora to a greater extent than it was in Ireland.
Public parades and festivals, Irish traditional music performances (céilithe), wearing green apparel, and wearing shamrocks are typical celebration components. Additionally, there are formal events like banquets and dances, but they were more prevalent in the past. Parades celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day first appeared in North America in the 18th century, but they didn’t arrive in Ireland until the 20th.
Marching bands, the military, fire brigades, cultural organizations, nonprofits, volunteer associations, youth groups, fraternities, and more are frequently among the participants. However, many of the parades have evolved over time to resemble carnivals more. In Ireland, where Seachtain na Gaeilge runs from March 1 to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, more effort is made to use the Irish language (“Irish language week”).
As part of Tourism Ireland’s “Global Greening Initiative” or “Going Green for St. Patrick’s Day,” notable sites have been lit up in green on St. Patrick’s Day since 2010. Over 300 sites in fifty different nations have turned green for Saint Patrick’s Day since the first two landmarks to participate, the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower in Auckland.
Christians are also welcome to attend church services, and the day’s dietary and alcohol bans are eased. Alcohol consumption, especially Irish whiskey, beer, or cider has likely developed into an essential component of the festivities as a result. The tradition of “wetting the shamrock” or “drowning the shamrock” on Saint Patrick’s Day was once very common.
Saint Patrick’s Day is an opportunity for Irish government ministers to visit various nations on an official basis while promoting Ireland. The meeting between the Irish Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) and the American President, which takes place on or around Saint Patrick’s Day, is the most notable of these. The U.S. President typically receives a Waterford Crystal bowl with shamrocks inside from the Taoiseach. This custom got its start when President Harry S. Truman received a box of shamrocks from the Irish ambassador to the United States, John Hearne, in 1952.
Since then, it has been customary for the Irish ambassador to the United States to give a member of the U.S. president’s administration a Saint Patrick’s Day shamrock. On a few occasions, however, the Irish Taoiseach or Irish President has given the American president a shamrock personally in Washington, like when President Dwight D. Eisenhower met Taoiseach John A. Costello in 1956 and President Seán T. O’Kelly in 1959
Since then, it has been customary for the Irish ambassador to the United States to give a member of the U.S. president’s administration a Saint Patrick’s Day shamrock. On a few occasions, however, the Irish Taoiseach or Irish President has given the American president a shamrock personally in Washington, like when President Dwight D. Eisenhower met Taoiseach John A. Costello in 1956 and President Seán T. O’Kelly in 1959 or when President Ronald Reagan met Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald in 1986 and Taoiseach Charles Haughey in 1987.
However, the exchange of shamrocks between the presidents of the two nations did not become a yearly tradition until the 1994 visit between Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and President Bill Clinton. Due to the intensity of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Shamrock ceremony was postponed till 2020.
It is common to don shamrocks, green attire, or green accessories on Saint Patrick’s Day. According to legend, Saint Patrick taught the pagan Irish people about the Holy Trinity by using the three-leaved shamrock. Though it could be older, this narrative first appears in writing in 1726. Three was an important number in pre-Christian Ireland, and the Irish had a lot of triple deities, which may have helped St. Patrick in his evangelization efforts.
When St. Patrick uses the shamrock to express the Trinity, we might perceive him gaining inspiration from the triskele’s graphic representation, Roger Homan says. According to Patricia Monaghan, there is no proof that the shamrock was revered by the Irish pagans. Icons of St. Patrick frequently show the saint “with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other,” according to Jack Santino, who hypothesizes that it may have symbolized the regenerative forces of nature and was recast in a Christian context.
Green has first associated with Ireland thanks to a legend from the 11th century, according to Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland). It narrates the story of Goídel Glas (Goídel the Green), the Gaelic people’s eponymous ancestor and inventor of the Goidelic languages (Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx).
Goídel is bitten by a poisonous snake, but Moses uses his staff to apply pressure to the bite, saving him from death and leaving a green mark. His offspring settle in Ireland, a country devoid of snakes. One of them, Íth, ascends the Tower of Hercules and is compelled to leave right away after spotting a lovely green island in the distance.
Since the Irish Catholic Confederation flew the green harp banner in the 1640s, the color green has also been connected to Ireland. James Connolly later referred to this flag as “the hallowed emblem of Ireland’s unconquered soul” in his description of it. Since at least the 1680s, green ribbons, and shamrocks have been worn on St. Patrick’s Day. Since then, the connection between the color green and St. Patrick’s Day has developed. Green was chosen as the official color of the Irish fraternity Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick, which was established around 1750.
Instead, the Anglo-Irish chivalric Order of St. Patrick, formed in 1783, chose blue as its color, causing blue to become identified with St. Patrick. The United Irishmen adopted the color green in the 1790s. This republican group, which was primarily led by Protestants but also included numerous Catholic individuals, instigated a revolt against British rule in 1798. When Erin First Rose (1795), a poem by William Drennan, a United Irishmen co-founder, emphasizes the historical significance of green to the Irish and is the first place where Ireland is referred to as “the Emerald Isle.”
The term “wearing of the green” is taken from a ballad with the same name, which describes how United Irishmen were attacked because they were wearing green. Green was a prominent color in the Easter Rising flags of 1916, including the Starry Plough banner and the Irish Republic Proclamation Flag. Green paint for green people was the government’s rallying cry when the Irish Free State was established in 1922, and in 1924 a green Irish passport was made available.
Up until the early 20th century, wearing the “St. Patrick’s Day Cross” was another common practice in Ireland. These were paper Celtic Christian crosses with a bunch or rosette of green silk in the center and were “covered with silk or ribbon of different colors.”