St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland where St. Patrick is the patron saint. He is known for having converted pagan Irish to Christianity. It is told that he used a shamrock, a three-leaf plant, to explain the Holy Trinity; hence, the shamrock has been associated with St. Patrick’s Day ever since.1

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every 17th of March. This cultural and religious holiday commemorates the death of St. Patrick.3 March 17th is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and other parts of the world. 2

It’s also a day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers to missionaries. 1 Irish families celebrate this day by attending church mass in the morning and having feasts afterward.2

St. Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated by Irish diaspora in places such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, among others.  It’s a day popularly celebrated with a parade participated by thousands of people.

According to History.com, St. Patrick’s Day Parade was first celebrated in the United States in New York City. On March 17, 1762 Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched the parade with music for the purpose of reconnecting with their Irish roots and their fellow Irishmen who are also serving in the English Military.2

Since then, St. Patrick’s Day Parade is celebrated largely in New York City with over 150,000 people and watched by nearly three million people in the 1.5 mile parade route.2

It’s a day when you will see the color green all around. Perhaps the color green has been spread because of St. Patrick’s use of shamrock. The green color of the plant has been associated as the Saint’s color, hence the color theme of the holiday.

A shamrock is a three-leaf clover and its variation into a four-leaf clover is believed to be lucky. Legend tells that first leaf is for faith, second for hope, third for love, and the fourth is for luck.5

Shamrock is a registered trademark of the Government of Ireland.6 The three-leaf or four-leaf clover has become a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. People participating in the celebration wear a shamrock on their lapel. 6

Another symbol related to St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish folklore the leprechaun. A leprechaun is an elf-like creature who is believed to be keeping a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. He is portrayed to be dressed like a shoemaker in green color.7

No longer with Lenten restrictions, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with dancing, eating, and drinking. 3 St. Patrick’s Day has topped a poll asking which holiday people most closely associate with beer. Accordingly in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, some people add green food color to their beer. 4

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has become tradition not only to Irish folks but also to Americans and other nationalities who themselves enjoy the holiday. Relish the festivities!

 

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