Saint Patrick's Day facts

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
  • Patrick's Day
    Lá Fheile Pádraig
  • (St) Paddy's Day
  • (St) Patty's Day
Observed by
Type Ethnic, national, Christian
Significance Feast day of Saint Patrick,
commemoration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland
Date 17 March
Celebrations
  • Attending parades
  • attending céilithe
  • wearing shamrocks
  • wearing green
  • drinking Irish beer
  • drinking Irish whiskey
Observances Attending mass or service

Saint Patrick's Day is the feast day of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and a day of celebration for Irish people. It is celebrated on March 17 all over Ireland and everywhere in the world where Irish people or their descendants live. New York City has one of the biggest parades. It is a very Irish festival and it involves a lot of feasting and celebrations, which includes traditional Irish music, drinking beer and eating bacon and cabbage. Another tradition is one has to wear green clothing or they will be pinched.

Green is the color for Saint Patrick's day as it is the national color of Ireland and people often wear green on that day or have some type of shamrock on their clothing. Saint Patrick’s Day is also called Paddi’s day, it’s the national day for Ireland and is a cultural and religious celebration on the 17th March. The normal traditional is to dress in green, party with beer and music. The celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals. It is very normal that they wear a Shamrock, a three leaved plant which is also a symbol for Ireland. The first St Patrick's Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. In the beginning, it was a 3 day long celebration, but now it is a 5 day celebration.

Saint Patrick

Irish clover
According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.

Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Much of what is known about Saint Patrick comes from his book Declaration, which is mostly biographical. It is believed 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. According to the Declaration, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. It says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he "found God". The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.

According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years evangelising in the northern half of Ireland and converted "thousands". Patrick's efforts against the druids were eventually turned into a legend in which he drove "snakes" out of Ireland (Ireland never had any snakes).

Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland's foremost saint.

Celebrations

Ireland

St. Patricks Day Parade (2013) In Dublin Was Excellent But The Weather And The Turnout Was Disappointing (8566201364)
A St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin
St Patricks Day Inter Church Procession, Downpatrick, March 2010 (03)
A St Patrick's Day religious procession in Downpatrick, where Saint Patrick is said to be buried

St. Patrick's Day parades in Ireland date from the late 19th century, originating in the growing sense of nationalism of the period.

Because of the importance of the day, the celebrations in Dublin have, since the year 1996 been extended to a week-long event called St. Patrick's Festival, encompassing a spectacular fireworks display (Skyfest), open-air music, street theatre and the traditional parade. Many Irish people wear a bunch of shamrock on their lapels or caps on this day, while children wear tri-colour (green, white and orange) badges. Girls traditionally wore green ribbons in their hair (many still do).

The biggest celebrations in Ireland outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, where Saint Patrick was buried following his death on March 17, 461.

Canada

St. Patrick's Day Montreal 2007
Montreal hosts one of the longest-running and largest St Patrick's Day parades in North America.

In Canada, Saint Patrick's Day in an official holiday in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Some groups (including Guinness) have lobbied to make Saint Patrick's Day a federal holiday.

The longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parade in Canada takes place each year in Montreal, where the parade began in 1824.

In Quebec City, there was a parade from 1837 to 1926. The Quebec City St-Patrick Parade returned in 2010 after 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 St Patrick's Day, they wore green St Patrick's retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city's downtown on the Sunday before 17 March which attracts over 100,000 spectators.

Great Britain

St Patrick's Day - Trafalgar Square March 2006
St Patrick's Day parade in London usually takes place at Trafalgar Square.
Stpatricksdayfestivalcbridge
St. Patrick's Day festival Coatbridge is celebrated in the Irish descent majority town of Coatbridge in Scotland.

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. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock on this day, flown in from Ireland.

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 St Patrick's Day.

Birmingham holds the largest St 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 St 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 flag opposite the Union Flag, a large parade as well as a large number of cultural and learning events throughout the two-week period.

United States

Chicago River dyed green, buildings more prominent
The Chicago River dyed green for Saint Patrick's Day.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in the United States, where it was brought by Irish-American immigrants. The smallest parade is said to take place in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the United States; this parade is less than a single city block. Boulder, Colorado claims to have the shortest parade, which is also less than a single city block.

St. Patrick Parade, Fifth Ave., New York 1909
Saint Patrick's Parade on Fifth Avenue, 1909
Civil War steeplechase2
Saint Patrick's Day celebration, Union Army. Irish Brigade holds a steeplechase race, 17 March 1863.

The first civic and public celebration of Saint Patrick's Day in the 13 colonies took place in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. The first Saint Patrick's Day celebrated in New York City was held at the Crown and Thistle Tavern in 1756. Since then, the New York celebration has become the largest Saint Patrick's Day parade in the world. The first Saint Patrick's Day in the world took place in New York City on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the British military marched through the city.

Every year more than 150,000 marchers participate, including bands, firefighters, military and police groups, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs. The parade marches up 5th Avenue in Manhattan and it attracts roughly two million people.

The New York parade is moved to the previous Saturday (March 16) in years where March 17 is a Sunday.

Some U.S. cities paint the traffic stripe of their parade routes green. Others, including Chicago, dye major rivers green. Savannah, Georgia, home of the world's second-largest Saint Patrick's Day parade, dyes its downtown city fountains green.

The longest-running Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the U.S. are:

Images


Saint Patrick's Day Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.