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Saint Patrick’s Day

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Saint Patrick’s day

Saint Patrick's day
St. Patrick depicted in a stained glass window

Also called
(St) Patrick’s Day
(St) Paddy’s Day

Observed by
Irish people and people of Irish descent,
Catholic Church (see calendar), Anglican Communion (see calendars), Eastern Orthodox Church (see calendar), Lutheran Church (see calendar)

Christian, national, ethnic

Feast day of Saint Patrick, commemoration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland[1]

the 17th of March

Attending parades, attending céilithe, wearing shamrocks, wearing green, drinking Irish beer, drinking Irish whiskey

Attending mass or service

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig (The Festival of Patrick); Ulster-Scots: Saunt Petherick’s Day)[2] is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.[1] It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland),[3] the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general.[4]

The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services,[4][5] wearing of green attire[6] and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol,[6][7][8] which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.[4][6][7][8]

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland,[9] Northern Ireland,[10] Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.[11]



[edit] Saint Patrick

Main article: Saint Patrick

Little is known of Patrick’s early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave.[12] It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.[citation needed]

In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

[edit] Wearing of the green

Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s day grew.[13] Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century.[14] Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day.[15][16] In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention.[13] The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

[edit] In Ireland

According to legend, Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people.

Saint Patrick’s feast day, as a kind of national day, was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In later times he became more and more widely known as the patron of Ireland.[17] Saint Patrick’s feast day was finally placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding[18] in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick’s Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. The church calendar avoids the observance of saints’ feasts during certain solemnities, moving the saint’s day to a time outside those periods. Saint Patrick’s Day is occasionally affected by this requirement, when 17 March falls during Holy Week. This happened in 1940, when Saint Patrick’s Day was observed on 3 April in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday, and again in 2008, where it was officially observed on 14 March (15 March being used for St. Joseph, which had to be moved from 19 March), although the secular celebration still took place on 17 March. Saint Patrick’s Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160.[19][20] (In other countries, St. Patrick’s feast day is also 17 March, but liturgical celebration is omitted when impeded by Sunday or by Holy Week.)

A St Patrick’s Day religious procession in Downpatrick, 2010

Girls playing Irish folk music during a St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, 2010

Traditional St Patrick’s Day badges from the early 20th century, photographed at the Museum of Country Life in County Mayo

Everyone's Irish on 17 March

Sign on a beam in Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, a commercial museum promoting the drinking of Guinness stout on St Patrick’s Day

In 1903, Saint Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. This was thanks to the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by Irish Member of Parliament James O’Mara.[21] O’Mara later introduced the law that required that pubs and bars be closed on 17 March after drinking got out of hand, a provision that was repealed in the 1970s. The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931 and was reviewed by the then Minister of Defence Desmond Fitzgerald. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday remains a religious observance in Ireland, for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.

In the mid-1990s the government of the Republic of Ireland began a campaign to use Saint Patrick’s Day to showcase Ireland and its culture.[22] The government set up a group called St Patrick’s Festival, with the aim to:

  • Offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebrations in the world and promote excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity.
  • Provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent, (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations.
  • Project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal, as we approach the new millennium.[23]

The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009’s five day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.[24] Skyfest forms the centrepiece of the festival.

The topic of the 2004 St. Patrick’s Symposium was "Talking Irish", during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success, and the future were discussed. Since 1996, there has been a greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of "Irishness" rather than an identity based around traditional religious or ethnic allegiance. The week around Saint Patrick’s Day usually involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during seachtain na Gaeilge ("Irish Week").[citation needed]

As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford.

The biggest celebrations outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick’s Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.[citation needed]

The shortest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world takes place in Dripsey, Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village’s two pubs.[25]

Christian leaders in Ireland have expressed concern about the secularisation of St Patrick’s Day. In The Word magazine’s March 2007 issue, Fr. Vincent Twomey wrote, "It is time to reclaim St Patrick’s Day as a church festival." He questioned the need for "mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry" and concluded that "it is time to bring the piety and the fun together."[26]

[edit] Sports events

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland

[edit] Outside Ireland

[edit] In the United States

Main article: St. Patrick’s Day in the United States

St. Patrick’s Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognized and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily celebrated as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century, prior to the American Revolution.

[edit] In Argentina

In Argentina, and especially in Buenos Aires, all-night long parties are celebrated in designated streets, since the weather is comfortably warm in March. People dance and drink only beer throughout the night, until seven or eight in the morning, and although the tradition of mocking those who do not wear green does not exist, many people wear something green. In Buenos Aires, the party is held in the downtown street of Reconquista, where there are several Irish pubs;[29][30] in 2006, there were 50,000 people in this street and the pubs nearby.[31] Neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish community, the fifth largest in the world outside Ireland,[32] take part in the organisation of the parties.

[edit] In Canada

Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in Montreal

One of the longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, the flag of which has a shamrock in one of its corners. The parades have been held in continuity since 1824.[33]

In Quebec City, there was a parade from 1837 to 1926. The Quebec St-Patrick Parade returned in 2010, after an absence of more than 84 years. For the occasion, a portion of the NYPD Pipes and Drums were present as special guests.

The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys. In 1999, when the Maple Leafs played on Hockey Night in Canada (national broadcast of the NHL) on Saint Patrick’s Day, they wore the green St. Patrick’s day-themed retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city’s downtown core that attracts over 100,000 spectators.[citation needed]

Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick’s Day a national holiday in Canada.[34] Currently, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the only jurisdiction in Canada where Saint Patrick’s Day is a provincial holiday.

In March 2009, the Calgary Tower had changed its top exterior lights to new green-coloured CFL bulbs just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. The lights were in fact part of the environmental non-profit organisation, Project Porchlight, and were Green to represent environmental concerns. Approximately 210 lights were changed in time for Saint Patrick’s Day and almost resemble a Leprechaun‘s hat during the evening light. After a week, regular white CFLs took their place, saving the Calgary Tower around $12,000 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 104 metric tonnes in the process.[35]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Patrick’s Day in Canada

[edit] In Great Britain

2006 St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square London

In Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army consisting primarily of soldiers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock on this day, flown in from Ireland.[36]

Christian denominations in Great Britain observing his feast day include The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.[37]

Horse racing at the Cheltenham Festival attracts large numbers of Irish people, both residents of Britain and many who travel from Ireland, and usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day.[38]

Birmingham holds the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Britain with a massive city centre parade[39] over a two mile (3 km) route through the city centre. The organisers describe it as the third biggest parade in the world after Dublin and New York.[40]

London, since 2002, has had an annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade which takes place on weekends around the 17th, usually in Trafalgar Square. In 2008 the water in the Trafalgar Square fountains was dyed green.

Liverpool has the highest proportion of residents with Irish ancestry of any English city.[citation needed] This has led to a long-standing celebration on St Patrick’s Day in terms of music, cultural events and the parade.

Manchester hosts a two-week Irish festival in the weeks prior to St Patrick’s Day. The festival includes an Irish Market based at the city’s town hall which flies the Irish tricolour opposite the Union Flag, a large parade as well as a large number of cultural and learning events throughout the two-week period.[41]

The Scottish town of Coatbridge, where the majority of the town’s population are of Irish descent,[citation needed] also has a St. Patrick’s Day Festival which includes celebrations and parades in the town centre.[citation needed]

Glasgow has a considerably large Irish population; due, for the most part, to the Irish immigration during the 19th century. This immigration was the main cause in raising the population of Glasgow by over 100,000 people.[42] Due to this large Irish population, there is a considerable Irish presence in Glasgow with many Irish theme pubs and Irish interest groups who run annual celebrations on St Patrick’s day in Glasgow. Glasgow began an annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade and festival in 2007[citation needed]

[edit] In Japan

Saint Patrick’s Parades are now held in nine locations across Japan.[citation needed] The first parade, in Tokyo, was organised by The Irish Network Japan (INJ) in 1992. Nowadays parades and other events related to Saint Patrick’s Day spread across almost the entire month of March.

[edit] In Montserrat

The tiny island of Montserrat, known as "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis, is the only place in the world apart from Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador where St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday. The holiday commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on 17 March 1768.[43]

[edit] In New Zealand and Australia

Sydney Opera House lit up for St Patrick’s Day 2010

Saint Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated in New Zealand and Australia – green items of clothing are traditionally worn and the streets are often filled with revellers drinking and making merry from early afternoon until late at night.

The Irish made a large impact on the social, political and education systems, of both countries. Owing to the large numbers of Irish people that emigrated to, or where brought over as convicts during the 19th century. Saint Patrick’s Day is seen as a day to celebrate individual links to Ireland and Irish heritage.[citation needed]

[edit] In South Korea

The Irish Association of Korea has celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day since 1976 in Seoul (the capital city of South Korea). The place of parade and festival has been moved from Itaewon and Daehangno to Cheonggyecheon.[44]

[edit] See also

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[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Kevin Meethan, Alison Anderson, Steven Miles. Tourism, Consumption & Representation. CAB International.
  2. ^ Saint Patrick’s Journey – Traditions BBC.
  3. ^ "St Patrick’s Day celebrations". Church of Ireland Notes from The Irish Times. Official Church of Ireland website. 12 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Circles of Tradition: Folk Arts in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society Press. Retrieved 13 November 2010. "In nineteenth-century America it became a celebration of Irishness more than a religious occasion, though attending Mass continues as an essential part of the day."
  5. ^ Edna Barth. Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick’s Day Symbols. Sandpiper. Retrieved 13 November 2010. "For most Irish-Americans, this holiday is partially religious but overwhelmingly festive. For most Irish people in Ireland the day has little to do with religion at all. St. Patrick’s Day church services are followed by parades and parties, the latter being the best attended. The festivities are marked by Irish music, songs, and dances."
  6. ^ a b c Circles of Tradition: Folk Arts in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society Press. Retrieved 13 November 2010. "The religious occasion did involve the wearing of shamrocks, an Irish symbol of the Holy Trinity, and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on drinking."
  7. ^ a b John Nagle. Multiculturalism’s Double-Bind. Ashgate Publishing. Retrieved 13 November 2010. "Like many other forms of carnival, St. Patrick’s Day is a feast day, a break from Lent in which adherents are allowed to temporarily abandon rigorous fasting by indulging in the forbidden. Since alcohol is often proscribed during Lent the copious consumption of alcohol is seen as an integral part of St. Patrick’s day."
  8. ^ a b James Terence Fisher. Communion of Immigrants: A History of Catholics in America. Oxford University Press.’s+day+lent&hl=en&ei=l8iBTc_SHPKM0QGY3-XOCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBzgU#v=onepage&q=dispensation&f=false. Retrieved 13 November 2010. "The 40-day period (not counting Sundays) prior to Easter is known as Lent, a time of prayer and fasting. Pastors of Irish- American parishes often supplied "dispensations" for St. Patrick s Day, enabling parishioners to forego Lenten sacrifices in order to celebrate the feast of their patron saint."
  9. ^ "Public holidays in Ireland". Citizens Information Board. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Bank holidays". NI Direct. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Confession of St. Patrick". Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  13. ^ a b Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  14. ^ The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day. Routledge. 2002. ISBN 9780415180047.
  15. ^ "St. Patrick’s Day: Fact vs. Fiction". p. 2. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  16. ^ "Holiday has history". Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  17. ^ Liam de Paor: St. Patrick’s World, The Christian Culture of Ireland’s Apostolic Age. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1993
  18. ^ "The Catholic Encyclopedia: Luke Wadding". Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  19. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (6 March 2008). "St. Patrick’s Day, Catholic Church march to different drummers". USA Today. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  20. ^ Nevans-Pederson, Mary (13 March 2008). "No St. Pat’s Day Mass allowed in Holy Week". Dubuque Telegraph Herald. Woodward Communications, Inc.. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  21. ^ "Humphry’s Family Tree – James O’Mara". Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  22. ^ "The History of the Holiday." History Channel. . Retrieved 15 March 2006.
  23. ^ "St. Patrick’s Day". St. Patrick’s Festival. Retrieved 21 July 2007.
  24. ^ "". Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  25. ^ "Dripsey". Dripsey. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  26. ^ "More piety, fewer pints ‘best way to celebrate’", The Irish Independent, 12 March 2007
  27. ^ "Northern Ireland | St Patrick’s day parade refused funding". BBC News. 5 January 2000. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  28. ^ "Tomahawks To Host Ireland". We Are Rugby. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  29. ^ "Saint Patrick´s Day in Argentina".
  30. ^ Saint Patrick’s Day in Argentina on YouTube. Retrieved on 17 March 2009.
  31. ^ "Clarín newspaper".
  32. ^ Nally, Pat (1992). "Los Irlandeses en la Argentina". Familia, journal of the Ulster Historical Foundation 2 (8). Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  33. ^ "". 30 January 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  34. ^ "Guinness". Proposition 3-17. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  35. ^ "Calgary Tower gets full green bulb treatment". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 17 March 2010. [dead link]
  36. ^ "In pictures: St Patrick’s Day around the world". 1st Battalion Irish Guards marching in a St Patrick"s Day parade held at the Victoria Barracks in Windsor (BBC). 17 March 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  37. ^ Richard P. Mcbrien. Lives of the Saints: From Mary and St. Francis of Assisi to John XXIII and Mother Teresa. HarperOne.’s+day+england+church&hl=en&ei=fI6CTd6nIOiH0QHJtOjQCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CGQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=saint%20patrick’s%20day%20england%20church&f=false. Retrieved 13 November 2010. "The most famous church in the United States is dedicated to him, St. Patrick’s in New York City. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by people of all ethnic backgrounds by the wearing of green and parades. His feast, which is on the General Roman Calendar, has been given as March 17 in liturgical calendars and martyrologies. The Church of England, the Episcopal Church in the USA, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America observe his feast on this day, and he is also commemorated on the Russian Orthodox calendar."
  38. ^ BBC News – The day the world turns green 14 March 1998.
  39. ^ "Connecting Histories – St Patrick’s Day Parade". 12 March 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  40. ^ St. Patrick’s Parade 2009 (18 March 2009). "". BBC News. Retrieved 17 March 2010. [dead link]
  41. ^ "Manchester Irish Festival". Manchester Irish Festival. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  42. ^
  43. ^ Fergus, Howard A. (1996). Gallery Montserrat: some prominent people in our history. Canoe Press University of West Indies. p. 83. ISBN 976-8125-25-X. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  44. ^ "Saint Patrick’s Day in Korea Event Page". Irish Association of Korea. Retrieved 17 March 2010.

[edit] External links

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