Saint Patrick’s Day
When: on 17th March
Saint Patrick was a 5th century Roman-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. He is known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, and he is the main important patron saint of the island along with Saints Brigid and Columba.
When he was about 16, he was taken from his home and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland as an ordained bishop. Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th, the date of his death. It is celebrated both inside and outside Ireland, as both a religious and, especially outside Ireland, cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation; outside Ireland, it can be a celebration of Ireland itself.
Saint Patrick’s Day was declared an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. This festival can be postponed if there are any more solemn holidays such as the Holy Week in the same days.
The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as it celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services, and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day: in which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption. The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on 17th March 1996. The Festival lasts five days and in 2009 there was about 1 million visitors, who took part at concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.
The colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew. Since the 17th century green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the ubiquitous wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs has become a feature of the day. In 1798 during the rebellion Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on March 17th to catch public attention.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world; especially in Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.