Saint Patrick's Day
|Saint Patrick's Day|
Saint Patrick depicted in a stained glass window at Saint Benin's Church, Ireland
|Official name||Saint Patrick's Day|
|Also called||Feast of Saint Patrick
(Saint) Paddy's Day
St Patty'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)
|Type||Christian, national, ethnic|
|Significance||Feast day of Saint Patrick, commemoration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland|
|Date||17 March (the civic celebration is always held on 17 March, but the liturgical celebration may be held on another date if 17 March falls on a Sunday)|
|Celebrations||Attending parades, attending céilithe, wearing shamrocks, wearing green, drinking Irish beer, drinking Irish whiskey|
|Observances||Attending mass or service|
Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland.
Saint Patrick's Day was made 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. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as 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, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.
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.
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 was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. 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.
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.
Celebration and traditions 
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. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. 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 the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name.
Celebrations by region 
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. 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 in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick's Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. It is also a feast day in the Church of 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. Saint Patrick's Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160. However, the secular celebration is always held on 17 March.
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. 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.
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. The government set up a group called St Patrick's Festival, with the aims:
- To offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world
- To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity
- To 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
- To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal.
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. Skyfest forms the centrepiece of the festival.
The topic of the 2004 Saint 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 Language Week").
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 Saint Patrick's Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.
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."
In Buenos Aires, a party is held in the downtown street of Reconquista, where there are several Irish pubs; in 2006, there were 50,000 people in this street and the pubs nearby. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish community, the fifth largest in the world outside Ireland, take part in the organisation of the parties.
One of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, whose city flag includes a shamrock in its lower-right quadrant. The parade has been held annually since 1824.
In 2013, the CelticFest Vancouver Society organised an annual festival in downtown Vancouver to celebrate the Celtic Nations and their culture. This event, which includes a parade, occurs the weekend closest to Saint Patrick's Day.
In Quebec City, there was a parade from 1837 to 1926. The Quebec City St-Patrick Parade returned in 2010 after an absence of more than 84 years. For the occasion, a portion of the New York Police Department Pipes and Drums were present as special guests.
There has been a parade held in Toronto since at least 1863. 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 Saint Patrick's Day, they wore green Saint Patrick's retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city's downtown core on the Sunday prior to 17 March which attracts over 100,000 spectators.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Patrick's Day in Canada|
In March 2009, the Calgary Tower changed its top exterior lights to new green CFL bulbs just in time for Saint Patrick's Day. Part of an environmental non-profit organisation's campaign (Project Porchlight), the green represented environmental concerns. Approximately 210 lights were changed in time for Saint Patrick's Day, and resembled a Leprechaun's hat. After a week, white CFLs took their place. The change was estimated to save the Calgary Tower some $12,000 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 104 tonnes.
Great Britain 
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.
Birmingham holds the largest Saint Patrick's Day parade in Britain with a city centre parade 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.
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. 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.
The Scottish town of Coatbridge, where the majority of the town's population are of Irish descent, also has a Saint Patrick's Day Festival which includes celebrations and parades in the town centre.
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. 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.
International Space Station 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Patrick's Day on the International Space Station|
Astronauts on board the International Space Station have celebrated the festival in different ways. Irish-American Catherine Coleman played a hundred-year-old flute belonging to Matt Molloy and a tin whistle belonging to Paddy Maloney, both members of the Irish music group The Chieftains, while floating weightless in the space station on Saint Patrick's Day in 2011. Her performance was later included in a track called "The Chieftains In Orbit" on the group's album, Voice of Ages.
Chris Hadfield took photographs of Ireland from earth orbit, and a picture of himself wearing green clothing in the space station, and posted them online on Saint Patrick's Day in 2013. He also posted online a recording of himself singing Danny Boy in space.
Saint Patrick's Parades are now held in many locations across Japan. 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.
The St. Patrick's Society of Selangor, which has been in existence since 1925, organises the annual St. Patrick's Ball, the biggest St Patrick's Day celebration in Asia. Guinness Anchor Berhad also organises 36 parties across the country in places like the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Bahru, Malacca, Ipoh, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Kuching.
The tiny island of Montserrat is known as "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis. Along with Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, St Patrick's Day is a public holiday. The holiday also commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on 17 March 1768.
The first Saint Patrick's Day parade took place in Russia in 1992. Since 1999, there is an annual international "Saint Patrick's Day" festival in Moscow and other Russian cities. The Moscow parade has both official and unofficial parts. The first seems like a military parade and is performed in collaboration with the Moscow government and the Irish embassy in Moscow. The unofficial parade is performed by volunteers and seems more like a carnival and show with juggling, stilts, jolly-jumpers and Celtic music.
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.
While Saint Patrick's Day in Switzerland is commonly celebrated on 17 March with festivities similar to those in neighbouring central European countries, it is not unusual for Swiss students to organise celebrations in their own living spaces on Saint Patrick's Eve. Most popular are usually those in Zurich's Kreis 4. Traditionally, guests also contribute with beverages and dress accordingly in green.
United States 
Saint Patrick's Day, while not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and celebrated throughout the country. It is observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, eating and drinking, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century.
Sports events 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland|
- The Saint Patrick's Day Test is an international rugby league tournament that is played between the USA and Ireland. The competition was first started in 1995 with Ireland winning the first two tests with the USA winning the last 4 in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. The game is usually held on or around 17 March to coincide with Saint Patrick's Day.
- Traditionally the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship and All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship are held on Saint Patrick's Day in Croke Park, Dublin. The Interprovincial Championship was previously held on 17 March but this was switched to games being played in Autumn.
- The Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup, Munster Schools Rugby Senior Cup and Ulster Schools Senior Cup are held on Saint Patrick's Day. The Connacht Schools Rugby Senior Cup is held on the weekend before Saint Patrick's Day.
See also 
- Gaelic calendar also known as Irish calendar
- It's a Great Day for the Irish
- Order of St. Patrick
- Plastic Paddy
- Saint Patrick's Breastplate
- "St. Patty's Day celebration packs extra emotion". CBS Evening News. March 16, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- "100,000 at St. Patrick's Day Block Party in St. Paul". ABC 5 Eyewitness News. 16 March 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Kevin Meethan, Alison Anderson, Steven Miles. Tourism, Consumption & Representation. CAB International.
- ""St Patrick's Day celebrations". Church of Ireland Notes from ''The Irish Times''. Official Church of Ireland website.". Ireland.anglican.org. 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."
- James Terence Fisher. Communion of Immigrants: A History of Catholics in America. Oxford University Press. 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."
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- "Confession of St. Patrick". Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
- St. Patrick: Why Green? – video. History.com. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick's Day. Routledge. 2002. ISBN 978-0-415-18004-7.
- "St. Patrick's Day: Fact vs. Fiction". p. 2. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- "Holiday has history". Retrieved 21 March 2009.
- Liam de Paor: St. Patrick's World, The Christian Culture of Ireland's Apostolic Age. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1993
- "The Catholic Encyclopedia: Luke Wadding". Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (6 March 2008). "St. Patrick's Day, Catholic Church march to different drummers". USA Today. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
- 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.
- "Humphry's Family Tree – James O'Mara". Humphrysfamilytree.com. Retrieved 17 March 2010.[dead link]
- "The History of the Holiday". Historychannel.com. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- "St. Patrick’s Festival was established by the Government of Ireland in November 1995". St. Patrick's Festival. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "St. Patrick's Day Facts Video —". History.com. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- "Dripsey". Dripsey. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "More piety, fewer pints 'best way to celebrate'", The Irish Independent, 12 March 2007
- "Saint Patrick´s Day in Argentina". Sanpatricio2009.com.ar. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- Saint Patrick's Day in Argentina on YouTube. Retrieved on 17 March 2009.
- "San Patricio convocó a una multitud". Clarin.com. 18 March 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Nally, Pat (1992). "Los Irlandeses en la Argentina". Familia, journal of the Ulster Historical Foundation 2 (8). Retrieved 6 November 2010.
- "Irish Association of Manitoba". www.irishassociation.ca. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Celticfestvancouver.com". Celticfestvancouver.com. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- "Guinness". Proposition 3–17. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- "Calgary Tower gets full green bulb treatment". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 17 March 2010.[dead link]
- "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.
- Richard P. Mcbrien. Lives of the Saints: From Mary and St. Francis of Assisi to John XXIII and Mother Teresa. HarperOne. 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."
- "Special Report | stpatrick | The day the world turns green". BBC News. 1998-03-17. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- "Connecting Histories – St Patrick's Day Parade". Search.connectinghistories.org.uk. 12 March 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
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- "Manchester Irish Festival". Manchester Irish Festival. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- "Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s". TheGlasgowStory. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- St. Patrick's Day Greeting From Space NASA TV video, 2011-03-17.
- Molloy's flute to help Irish music breach the final frontier Irish Times, 2010-12-15 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- Irish Astronaut in Space Gives St. Patrick's Day Musical Flair Space.com, 2011-03-17.
- Chieftains' call-up to an army of indie admirers Irish Times, 2012-03-10. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- Out of this world rendition of Danny Boy marks St Patrick’s Day in space Irish Times, 2013-03-17.
- Astronaut Chris Hadfield singing "Danny Boy" on the International Space Station Soundcloud, 2013-03-17.
- "2013 St Patricks Day Parades in Japan". Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- 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.
- "Москва. День Св. Патрика" (in ru). www.stpatrick.ru. 1999-2007. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Saint Patrick's Day in Korea Event Page". Irish Association of Korea. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- "Saint Patrick's Eve in Switzerland Event Page". Zurich Student Association. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Tomahawks To Host Ireland". We Are Rugby. Retrieved 31 March 2011.[dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Patrick's Day|
- The Life, Miracles and Prayers of St. Patrick of Ireland, Patron Saint of Ireland
- Official St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, Ireland
- Saint Patrick History
- Two books on Saint Patrick
- Saint Patrick's Day History – slideshow by The Huffington Post
- Saint Patrick's Day on The History Channel
- St Patrick's Confessio HyperStack: Saint Patrick's Writings in Latin (Bieler's edition) and various translations, facsimile of manuscripts and print editions of the Confessio and Epistola, scholarly articles on St Patrick and his writings, audio resources, a novel, a bibliography with over 1000 entries etc.
- Billy Murray's recording of "Paddy's Day" (1905)