From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaSaint Patrick's Day
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 commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general.
The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire, public parades and processions, and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.
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, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.
According to legend, St. Patrick used the 3-leavedshamrock
to explain theHoly Trinity
to the Irish people.
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.
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 wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous 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.
A St Patrick's Day religious procession inDownpatrick
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. 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 (15 March being used for St. Joseph, which had to be moved from 19 March), although the secular celebration still took place on 17 March. Saint Patrick's Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160. (In other countries, St. Patrick's feast day is also 17 March, but liturgical celebration is omitted when impeded by Sunday or by Holy Week.)
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. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday remains a religious observance in Ireland, for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.
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:
Traditional St Patrick's Day badges from the early 20th century, photographed at theMuseum of Country Life
- 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.
Girls playingIrish folk music
during a St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, 2010
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 St. 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 St. Patrick's Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.
Sign on a beam in Dublin'sGuinness Storehouse
, a commercial museum promoting the drinking of Guinness stout on St Patrick's Day
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."
is annually dyed green on St. Patricks Day
St. Patrick's Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognized and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century, prior to the American Revolution.
In Argentina, and especially in Buenos Aires, all-night long parties are celebrated in designated streets, since the weather is comfortably warm in March. People dance and drink only beer throughout the night, until seven or eight in the morning, and although the tradition of mocking those who do not wear green does not exist, many people wear something green. In Buenos Aires, the 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 parades have been held continually since 1824.
In 2004, the CelticFest Vancouver Society organized 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.
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 St. Pat's retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city's downtown core on the Sunday prior to March 17 which attracts over 100,000 spectators.
Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick's Day a national holiday. Currently, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only jurisdiction where Saint Patrick's Day is a provincial holiday.
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 organization'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.
St. Patricks day occasionally turns violent due to the large number of intoxicated individuals celebrating in Canada. This was seen, for example, in the 2012 in London, Ontario where college students light a TV van on fire then threw bottles at firefighters (attempting to put out the fire) and police officers in the area.
2006 St Patrick's Day celebrations inTrafalgar Square
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 massive 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 St. 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
Saint Patrick's Parades are now held in nine 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 tiny island of Montserrat, known as "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis, is the only place in the world apart from Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador where St Patrick's Day is a public holiday. The holiday also commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on 17 March 1768.
lit up for St Patrick's Day 2010
Saint Patrick's Day is widely celebrated in New Zealand and Australia - green items of clothing are traditionally worn and the streets are often filled with revellers drinking and making merry from early afternoon until late at night.
The Irish made a large impact on the social, political and education systems, of both countries. This is due to the large numbers of Irish people that emigrated to, or where brought over as convicts during the 19th century. As such, Saint Patrick's Day is seen as a day to celebrate individual links to Ireland and Irish heritage.
Moscow, March 17, 2012
Nizhny Novgorod, March 17, 2012
First Saint Patrick's Day parade took place in Russia in 1992. There is an annual international festival "Saint Patrick's Day" in Moscow and other Russian cities since 1999. Moscow Parade usually is divided in two parts - official and unofficial. First seems like military parade and is performed in collaboration with Moscow government and Irish embassy in Moscow, and second is made by volunteers and seems like carnival and show with juggling, stilts, jolly-jumpers and Celtic music.
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 March 17 with festivities like 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.
The organization Guinness World Records awarded St Patrick’s Day as officially the world's ‘Friendliest Day of the Year’. More than 435,000 people joined the campaign and it was a record of 26 countries across 4 continents.