St. Patrick’s Day, or in the Irish language, Lá Fhéile Pádraig (the Day of the Festival of Patrick), is a unique Irish celebration held every year on the 17th of March.
A day full of jubilation, music and a whole lot of green, this cultural festival celebrates one of Ireland’s most famous patron saints, St. Patrick.
As centuries and decades passed, this annual feast of celebration grew in popularity stretching from Ireland to all corners of the world.
Today, the day celebrates everything associated with the small island of Ireland, allowing all of us to embrace our inner Irishness for the day!
In order to understand what the day is about, we can begin by delving back in time to understand who St. Patrick was and how March 17th became one of the most popular calendar events in the world.
Who was St. Patrick?
Whilst St. Patrick remains to be an iconic figure of Irish heritage and folklore, there is often a large sense of mystery surrounding the patron saint.
More so, much of what we know about the legend of St. Patrick comes from a document called, ‘’The Declaration’’. Allegedly, this declaration was written by St. Patrick himself.
Born in 386 AD, Patrick was a missionary, who hailed from a Romano-British Christian background. At the tender age of sixteen, he was seized by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd for six years.
In the midst of his confinement, Patrick was later persuaded by God to run away and escape on a ship that would be waiting for him on the shore. Later on in life, Patrick found his true calling and became a priest.
Folklore has it that Patrick came back to Ireland in an attempt to promote Christianity to the pagan Irish population.
As the years went by, Patrick’s honourable work became more noticed and appreciated leading him to become a household name in Ireland. One of Patrick’s formidable efforts included his ability to drive all of the “snakes” out of Ireland.
On the 17th of March in 461 AD, Patrick passed away and was buried at Downpatrick. Patrick’s legacy was etched into Ireland’s history and folklore books that would later influence other iconic figures to emerge and follow suit.
Interesting Facts about St. Patrick’s Day
With a better understanding of who St. Patrick was, it is time to explore some more interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day. Some of these facts may even surprise you!
Was St. Patrick actually Irish?
Many were once under the impression that St. Patrick was an Irish native. This is actually not true. In fact, his exact place of birth is often debated, with many scholars believing St. Patrick was a Welsh native.
Additionally, his name ‘Patrick’ was not his original Christian name. His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat, where he later adopted the name Patrick when he became a priest.
St. Patrick’s Day or Paddy’s Day.
Widely known as St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish people over time have adopted a different nickname for the day. You will find that when the 17th of March approaches on our calendars, many Irish people refer to St. Patrick’s Day as Paddy’s Day.
Contrary to many of their American friends, the Irish do not refer to the day as St. Patty’s Day!
The Celebration of St. Patrick
St. Patrick’s Day is a recognised worldwide event filled with colourful parades, smiling faces and of course, having the ‘’the craic’’.
However, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day can be traced back as early as the 9th and 10th century with the Irish natives being at the centre of the festivities.
Once St. Patrick’s status as a patron saint continued to evolve, the feast day was eventually recognised by the Catholic Church in the 1600’s. As Irish people continued to migrate far and wide, they took their beloved traditions with them and embedded them into their new societies.
This included St. Patrick’s Day and it was particularly evident in countries, such as America, Australia and Great Britain. In the 20th century Ireland, St. Patricks Day became a national public holiday.
Today, the event is celebrated all over the world attracting millions of people with each country adding its own unique twist to celebrating the day of St. Patrick.
Why the Colour Green?
The relationship between Ireland and the colour green stems as far back as the 17th century.
Aside from political influencing factors, it was around this time that items, such as green shamrocks, were worn on St Patrick’s Day. This popular colour association grew substantially right throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Green Shamrock
Legend has it that when St. Patrick was carrying out his missionary duties in Ireland, he would often use the shamrock to explain the holy trinity to the pagan Irish.
In Catholic biblical terms, the holy trinity refers to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Today, the shamrock remains to be a significant emblem towards the festivities and celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day.
International Landmarks Go Green!
As a notable gesture to St. Patrick’s Day, many of the global landmarks turn green as a sign of commemoration.
Some of these landmarks include the London Eye, The Great Wall of China, Niagra Falls, and Christ the Redeemer statue (Rio de Janeiro).
Impressively, the Chicago River turns green for the weekend!
St. Patrick’s Day, or Paddy’s Day, is slowly approaching on our calendars. It is a day full of great energy, joy, music, and notably, ‘’the craic’’.
St. Patrick’s Day events are happening everywhere all around the world. Be sure to get your shamrocks ready and your best green attire on for an action-packed day of fun.
Check out your local areas for events near you to avoid disappointment on missing out on one of the most popular and celebrated annual events of the year.