What is St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day (March 17) of the Irish national patron saint, St. Patrick. He was abducted at the age of 16 and sent to Ireland as a slave. He was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century. He managed to flee, but he later came back in 432 CE to win the Irish over to Christianity. He had built monasteries, churches, and schools by the time he passed away on March 17, 461 AD. He was the subject of several myths, including the ones that claimed he expelled the snakes from Ireland and explained the Trinity using the shamrock. Ireland travelled there to observe his birthday with feasts and religious ceremonies.
Emigrants, especially those who went to the United States, are largely responsible for transforming St. Patrick’s Day into a largely secular feast of fun and appreciation for all things Irish. The largest festivities, which included lavish parades, were held in cities with significant populations of Irish immigrants, who frequently held political power. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was staged in Boston in 1737, and then in New York City in 1762. Chicago has dyed its river green since 1962 to commemorate the occasion.
(Green is now frequently associated with St. Patrick’s Day; blue was the colour traditionally associated with the holiday.) Wearing green attire or a shamrock, the Irish national flower, in the lapel is referred to as “wearing the green” and is popular among both Irish and non-Irish people. The celebration is linked with corned beef and cabbage, and occasionally beer is coloured green to commemorate the occasion. Even if the Irish later began to use some of these methods themselves, they mainly did so for the benefit of tourists.
When is St. Patrick’s Day in 2023?
Despite the fact that St. Patrick’s Day always falls on March 17, the day of the week varies. St. Patrick’s Day will fall on March 17 on that year, 2023.
Sláinte! The holiday occurs just at the beginning of the weekend. This implies that your planned Friday night supper may end up becoming a lengthy night out. Making some Irish coffee will get your weekend off to a great start, just in time for some kid-friendly St. Patrick’s Day crafts!
Who Was St. Patrick?
One of the most well-known personalities in Christianity is St. Patrick, who is also the patron saint of Ireland. Nonetheless, despite his widespread cultural influence, particularly the holiday that bears his name and is celebrated on the day of his passing, little is known about his life.
Several myths about St. Patrick, including the well-known one about him driving all snakes out of Ireland, are untrue and the result of centuries of exaggerated retelling.
Near the close of the fourth century, rich parents gave birth to St. Patrick in Britain, not Ireland. On or about March 17, 460 A.D., he is thought to have passed away.
Although Patrick’s father was a Christian deacon, there is no proof that his family was very religious, and it has been speculated that he probably accepted the position due to tax benefits.
When Patrick was 16 years old, some Irish raiders attacked his family’s estate and took him prisoner. He was moved to Ireland, where he was held captive for six years.
(The location of this captivity is a matter of significant debate. It’s more likely that he was detained in County Mayo close to Killala, despite the widespread belief that he was taken to reside in Mount Slemish in County Antrim.)
He was distant from people and worked outside as a shepherd throughout this time. He turned to his religion out of loneliness and fear, becoming a devoted Christian. (It is also thought that while in captivity, Patrick first began to dream of bringing the Irish to Christianity.)
Events and Activities for St. Patrick’s Day
There are many more equally enjoyable ways you can celebrate Irishness this year even if organizing a parade isn’t on your to-do list. Here are just a few St. Patrick’s Day event suggestions to get the Celtic spirit flowing in your neighborhood.
1. Be creative
Why not plan a handicraft workshop as a family-friendly event? Invite guests to make shamrock wreaths, hats, or sock puppets in honour of the holiday.
2. Irish cooking lesson
Show your guests how to make traditional Irish meals like soda bread, Colcannon, and traditional mutton stew by holding a cooking class.
3. Céilí dances
Irish dancing can be surprisingly approachable for persons with a range of skill levels, despite the fact that it is frequently a physically demanding discipline. To amplify the celebrations, think about hiring traditional Irish musicians. To complete the evening, don’t forget to include some fantastic food and drink experiences.
4. Irish musical night
Along with producing top-notch traditional Irish music, Ireland has also given the world U2, The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, The Cranberries, Sinead O’Connor, and a long list of other world-class rock and pop artists. Organize an Irish pop music disco with only Irish singers and bands playing the music, or keep the same theme for a karaoke night.
5. Color and light
Together with music and literature, Irish artists such as cubist painter Louis Le Brocquy, photographer Michael Craig-Martin, and painters Francis Bacon have forged new routes in their respective professions. Visit an online collection or give a tour at a nearby museum that focuses on prominent Irish painters to gain a fresh perspective on the world.
6. Irish poetry readings
Some of the best and most well-known literature in the world has been written in Ireland. With classics like W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and James Joyce, as well as more contemporary voices like Seamus Heaney and Rachael Hegarty, you’ll be spoiled for choice if you host an Irish poetry event. For a genuinely comfortable and ethnic evening, serve Guinness and Irish nibbles alongside.
St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
The annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which takes place on March 17, is famed for its parades, shamrocks, and everything Irish. Discover the origins of the symbols we currently associate with St. Patrick’s Day, such as leprechauns and the colour green, as well as a few wholly American inventions.
The shamrock, also known as the “seamroy,” was a revered plant in prehistoric Ireland because it represented the return of spring. The shamrock had become a representation of developing Irish nationalism by the seventeenth century. Many Irish started to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their ancestry and their discontent with English rule when the English started to take Irish property and impose laws against the use of the Irish language and the practise of Catholicism.
History of St. Patrick’s Day Parades
On March 17, parades and other celebrations are held all around the world to honour St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The first known parade took place in what is now St. Augustine, Florida, in 1601. Ricardo Artur, an Irish vicar in the Spanish Colony, was in charge of organising the march and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration the previous year.
Irish soldiers in the British troops who were stationed in New York City in the 1760s formed their own St. Patrick’s Day procession. St. Patrick’s Day parades were a way for Irish immigrants who were Catholic to demonstrate their strength in numbers during the 1800s, a time when they were subjected to prejudice in a Protestant-dominated America.
St. Patrick’s Day parades are now commonplace in American cities, and individuals of all racial and cultural origins celebrate the festival. Even while St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Ireland as a religious holiday since the 17th century and as a national holiday since 1903, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that the government began supporting a sizable, global celebration and parade in Dublin, the nation’s capital.
Are you ready?
At its foundation, St. Patrick’s Day is all about honouring a community, both in Ireland where it is most cherished and in the vast community that extends far and wide around the world. The community is well recognised for its sense of humour, generosity, and love of good times, which is why everyone enjoys St. Patrick’s Day.
This year is very unique because in-person activities have recently returned. Hence, to create a truly special and genuine Irish event, offer your audience something to remember and follow the suggestions above.
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