St. Patrick’s Day may be a day full of green and shamrocks all over, but this day is more than just a celebration of all things green and the luck of the Irish. This holiday has more of a meaning than what people actually know. The tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day was not to always go out and drink as many green beers as we can. Celebrating the day this way may be fun, but let’s take a look at the history of this holiday and how it became a part of the Irish culture.
St. Patrick’s Day History:
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 every year to honor the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day became an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orth
odox Church, and the Lutheran Church. This day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as St. Patrick. It is also a celebration of the Irish culture and customs and not just a religious holiday. For this holiday, the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted, which encourages the consumption of each. With this, we see how the holiday became associated with the consumption of alcohol. St. Patrick’s Day is a public
holiday that is celebrated worldwide and not just by people of Irish descent.
Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Not much is known of St. Patrick himself except what comes from the Declaration, which he allegedly wrote himself. It is believed that he was born into a wealthy Romano-British family in Roman Britain during the fourth century. His family always had strong religious ties, his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to the Declaration, at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and became a shepherd in Gaelic Ireland. During this time is where he found God and after fleeing, became a priest. Patrick returned to Ireland where he spent years trying to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration states he converted thousands in the northern half of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 and was buried at Downpatrick.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration:
St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday throughout the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Today’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day are Irish influenced, however, the celebrations have been criticized for creating a negative stereotype for the Irish community. Many people’s idea of St. Patrick’s Day is negatively influenced due to the amount of drinking that occurs on the day. However, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is not meant to participate in drinking throughout the entire day.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated throughout the world especially within the Irish community and organizations. The common celebration of St. Patrick’s Day would be going to see the parade then heading out to a bar or restaurant for some Irish food and green beer! People will traditionally wear an article of green clothing on the day and enjoy Irish food and drinks that are sometimes dyed green. A common symbol that is associated with the day besides the color green is the shamrock. The shamrock is meant to symbolize the Holy Trinity as St. Patrick used it to explain and comes from the leaf of a clover plant. Many people associate good luck and fortune with St. Patrick’s Day due to its ties to the shamrock and the commonly associated leprechauns.
St. Patrick’s Day is an important day to the Irish community, because of St. Patrick, the Irish community gained its Catholic beliefs and a day to celebrate and be proud of their Irish culture. If you would like to view places to be and things to do on St. Patrick’s Day in different cities, please click here.