What is Saint Patrick’s Day?
Every 17th of March, the long-awaited Saint Patrick’s Day or St. Patty’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world that have Irish communities and organizations. In Canada, people celebrate it a day before or after the official date depending on the year. It commemorates Irish culture by remembering St.Patrick.
But who exactly who is St. Patty? His birth name was Maewyn Succat and he’s the patron saint of Ireland since he brought Christianity to the country. However, contrary to popular belief, he does not have a drop of Irish heritage in him and wasn’t a particularly religious person growing up, but he did belong in a Christian family. Originally born in Roman Britain around 390 A.D. before he was kidnapped and taken away at the age of 16 to become a slave who tended sheep in Ireland for approximately 6 to 7 years until he escaped. During his enslavement, he became close to God which lead him to return to Ireland where he enabled the conversion of many Irish people. He successfully established Christian monasteries, churches, and schools and died on March 17 in 461 A.D.
How to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?
People usually wear items that symbolize St. Patty, which includes the color green, the flag of the Republic of Ireland, shamrocks, harps, leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold. Aside from dressing up for the event, it is a celebration of Irish culture thus it features a variety of Irish cuisine and drinks, which are sometimes dyed green. Some of the St. Patrick’s Day traditional food are Irish brown bread, corned beef and cabbage, Irish cream chocolate mousse cake, Irish coffee, Irish stew, Irish potato soup, Irish potato champ and beef, and Guinness pie.
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is also celebrated in a religious manner by dedicating a pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s purgatory, which is located at Station Island in Lough Derg in County Donegal. Paying a visit to this place is considered as a sign of penance and spiritual healing since it’s where the patron saint promised the visitor would receive forgiveness for their transgressions.
Irish migrants who settled in the United States turned St. Patrick’s Day into an elaborate, festive and secular holiday. They hold Saint Patrick’s Day parades annually, it started in 1962 in Chicago where the river is dyed green to show Irish spirit. Boston was next in 1737 and not long after New York also participated in 1762.
Quotes to live by on Saint Patrick’s Day
"Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be." -St. Patrick
"That's what the holidays are for—for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute them. Isn't that the Irish way?" -Lara Flynn Boyle
"A good friend is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have." -An Irish Proverb
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