On the 17th of March is St. Patrick's Day where many embrace Irish traditions. But do you know its background?
Background of St Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick was not actually Irish but the son of a Roman-British army officer. When he was a young boy, he and many others were kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. For more than 6 years, he was imprisoned as an animal caretaker. According to some annals, one day he dreamed that God directed him to escape Ireland. He found passage on a ship and escaped back to England. Eventually, he would return to Ireland as a Priest where he converted many people to Catholicism. For more than two decades, he went all over Ireland, opening monasteries, establishing schools and training native clergies. He died March 17th around the fifth century. To this day, Patrick has never been officially canonized, or sainted by the Catholic Church, and is a saint in name only.
How is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in Ireland?
For hundreds of years, Paddy’s Day is celebrated national holiday and bank holiday for the Republic of Ireland. All over the entire country, you can hear the familiar drumbeats starting mid-morning on March 17th. From Skibbereen to Sligo, from Clane to Kiltimagh, it is the sound that Irish welcome and love. Before the sunset, between 50 and 100 parades are held all over the country. In its capital Dublin, the celebration lasts for five days with exciting boat races, the Irish Beer & Whiskey Festival, music, street performances and a spectacular St Patrick’s Day parade. Irish people wear green. Younger people like to use a splash of face paints to form shamrocks. They wave green inflatable hammers bought from many proliferating Eurogeneral shops. Many citizens pin on their some fresh shamrocks.
St. Patrick's Day as a global celebration
All around the world, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated. New York hosts the world's biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with a crowd of more than two million gathered to witness and participate in the city’s grand parade. In Montreal, Canada, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade teems with floats, bands, and plenty of colorful costumes. In London, the St Patrick’s Day parade has a long route; it travels 1.5-miles from Green Park ending at Trafalgar Square.
The most common symbol is the shamrock. It is a three-leaf clover plant and the Holy Trinity metaphor. Other symbols are -
- Any green object or formal green St Patty’s day attire.
- Ireland’s flag is a vertical tri-color of green (at the hoist), white, and orange
- Beer brands commonly associated with the Irish culture.
- The harp that was used in Ireland for centuries.
- The leprechaun and a pot of gold that it hides.
Color it green
St. Patrick's Day lights and décor are green for the color of spring and the shamrock. For more than 40 years, the Chicago River is transformed from its usual murky green color into a bright green color. Other places and landmarks around the world adapt green lighting and affects on this day including: (i) Allianz Arena In Munich Berlin; (ii) TV Tower, Germany; (iii) The Sydney Opera House; (iv) Australia Welcome To Las Vegas, USA; (v) The Leaning Tower of Pisa; and (vi) The Gateway of India in Mumbai goes green too amongst others.
Fun things to do on St Patrick’s Day
- Dress up and go find a pub.
- Make traditional Irish feast.
- Get creative with green drinks and Shamrock Shakes.
- Go overboard with green – hats, accessories, you name it.
- Learn an Irish dance.
- Find a local parade.
- Throw a St Patrick’s Day party at home with Irish music and St. Patrick’s Day décor.
Good ideas on a St. Patrick's Day in Ireland
- Stay for more than one day.
- Book ahead for comfy accommodations.
- Know the parade routes.
- Collect some facts about Ireland
- Enjoy the local menus
- Use cash, Dollar to Euro conversion rates are good.
Common St Patrick Day’s Foods, Festivities and other Indulgences for your Party
On the table, the might find stout-braised steak with stacked chips, Guinness, treacle & ginger pudding, potato cakes with smoked salmon & cream cheese, slow cooked Irish stew, colcannon, homemade potato bread, blood sausage pudding, corned beef with green cabbage, juicy and tender lamb chops, or a layered casserole of shepherd's pie- Yummy!
Also keep in the back a good supply of Irish stout or a concoction of fun shamrock drinks for all ages.
For music, traditional Celtic or Irish music is very tantalizing to play.
For decoration - St. Patrick’s Day carries all the shades of green, well-designed paper shamrocks, streamers and green balloons. Scatter little pots of choco coins in golden wrappers to keep children of all ages happy to search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Be part of this wonderful celebration of St Patrick’s Day. It all started as a feast to celebrate Ireland’s Patron Saint but it turned out to be a world-wide festival honoring the Irish culture with bands, colorful floats, parades, street dancing, food fests and all kinds of greens.
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