Saint Patrick’s Day is a cause for celebration. People throughout North America, Ireland and other parts of the world honor this holiday. They wear green, visit pubs and host parties with friends and family. But how many of us know who Saint Patrick is and how this holiday came to be?
The historical significance of March 17 may surprise you.
The Patron Saint of Ireland
March 17, now a day of celebration, signifies a sorrowful event. It is believed that Saint Patrick died on this day sometime in the fifth century. Not long after his death, Irishman began observing this day as a holiday as a “Feast Day.”
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in Roman Britain and was taken to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. After escaping, he returned to Ireland as a free man and missionary. He is known and remembered for spreading Christianity throughout Ireland.
Celebrations throughout the Years
People of Ireland have recognized March 17 as a day to celebrate Saint Patrick for the past 1,000 years. During this time, Irishmen honored Saint Patrick with a “feast day.” Ironically enough the tradition of “St. Patty’s Parties,” as we know them today, began in the United States.
It is said that Irishmen serving in the English military first marched the streets of New York City on March 17, 1762. This allowed them to feel connected to their culture while away overseas. At this time, however, it could not be predicted that the number of immigrants would soon surge. In less than a century the Great Potato Famine would hit, forcing many families to flee to America in search of jobs and sustenance. By the early 20th century, it was common to see many different nationalities present in American enfolded into Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Today, Saint Patrick’s day is celebrated throughout many parts of the world, including the United States, Canada and Australia. US megacity Chicago goes all out by dying their river green.
It is said that American celebrations influenced Ireland’s holiday traditions. Before the 1970s pubs were closed throughout Ireland on March 17. It is said that American celebrations influenced Ireland’s holiday traditions. In fact, before the 1970’s pubs were closed throughout Ireland on March 17. However, in recent years government began recognizing how the international holiday increases tourism; they decided to keep bars open so Irish culture could be on display for all to see.
Now, about one million people celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin ever year. With parades, concerts and fireworks it is somewhat reminiscent of the United States’ Fourth of July. For Ireland, it is one of the largest national holidays. Saint Patrick gives Ireland and all the world reason to celebrate.
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