Belated St. Patrick’s Day

Posted: March 18, 2006 in Holiday

March 17th is known as St. Patrick’s Day.  As usual this day was about: Green, Shamrocks, Pot-of-Gold, Emerald Isle, Ireland, and yes St. Patrick, himself. This day I heard was about Patrick removing the snakes out of Ireland. Is this true? or was this the day that Patrick died some centuries ago.  From, here is lowdown of the Irish holiday:

Saint Patrick’s Day

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Saint Patrick’s Day
The Chicago River, dyed green for the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Official Name {{{official_name}}}
Also Called {{{nickname}}}
Observed By Irish people
Irish citizens
Roman Catholics
Many others take part in some practices
Type National
Significance Catholic feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland
Begins {{{begins}}}
Ends {{{ends}}}
Date March 17
Gregorian Date (2006) {{{date2006}}}
Celebrations Parades
Wearing of green
Observances {{{observances}}}
Related To {{{relatedto}}}

St. Patrick’s Day 2004 in Cork City.

Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17) is a Christian feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (386-493), the patron saint of Ireland. It is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland (but not Northern Ireland, where it is a bank holiday); the overseas territory of Montserrat; and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide by Irish people and increasingly by many of non-Irish descent. Like Christmas and Halloween, it is increasingly celebrated in a non-religious manner. Celebrations are generally themed around all things green and Irish; both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green as part of their wardrobe, eating Irish food and imbibing Irish drink, and/or attending parades. The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world is held in New York City. Parades also take place in Dublin and in other Irish towns and villages. Other large parades include those in Manchester, Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Savannah and Scranton. Large parades also take place in other places throughout Europe and the Americas, as well as Australia and Asia.

As well as being a celebration of Irish culture, Saint Patrick’s Day is a Christian festival celebrated in the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland (among other churches in the Anglican Communion) and some other denominations. The day always falls in the season of Lent and sometimes during Holy Week. In church calendars (though rarely in secular ones) Saint Patrick’s Day is moved to the following Monday when it falls on a Sunday. If it falls in Holy Week, it is moved to the second Monday after Easter. It is traditional for those observing a lenten fast to break it for the duration of Saint Patrick’s Day.[1]

In many parts of the U.S., Britain, and Australia, expatriate Irish, those of Irish descent, and ever-growing crowds of people with no Irish connections but who may proclaim themselves "Irish for a day" also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, usually by drinking alcoholic beverages (lager dyed green, Irish beer such as Murphys, Smithwicks, Harp or Guinness, or Irish whiskey, Irish Cider, Irish Coffee or Baileys Irish Cream) and by wearing at least one article of green-colored clothing.



In Ireland

In the recent past, Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated only as a religious holiday. Until the 1970s, Irish laws actually mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday is still a religious observance in some areas.

It was only in the mid-1990s that the Irish government began a campaign to use Saint Patrick’s Day to showcase Ireland and its culture.[1]

The government set up a group called St. Patrick’s Festival, with the aim to:

—Offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebrations in the world and promote excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity.

—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.

—Project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal, as we approach the new millennium.[2]

The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on March 17, 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long.

The topic of the 2004 St. Patrick’s Symposium was "Talking Irish," during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success and the future was 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 speakers using more Irish during seachtain na Gaeilge ("Irish Week").

Shamrock ("three-leaf clover")

Many Irish people still wear a bunch of shamrock on their lapels or caps on this day or green, white, and orange badges (after the colors of the Irish flag). Girls traditionally wear green in their hair.

The biggest celebrations in Ireland outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, where Saint Patrick was buried following his death on March 17, 493. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick’s Festival had over 2000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers, and was watched by over 30,000 people.[citation needed]

Although celebrated by the Church of Ireland as a Christian festival, Saint Patrick’s Day as a celebration of Irish culture is rarely acknowledged by Northern Irish loyalists, who consider it a festival of the Irish republicans. The Belfast City Council recently agreed to give public funds to its parade for the first time; previously the parade was funded privately.[citation needed]

The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern recently suggested that he plans to link the 2006 Saint Patrick’s Day parade with the commemmoration of the Battle of the Somme. This comes in the wake of mass sectarian protest marches in Dublin City. It has been suggested that the link, emphasizing that both Northern and Southern Ireland fought together in the Somme, is an attempt to calm sectarian frustrations in Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

Since the 1990s, Irish Taoisigh have sometimes attended special functions either on Saint Patrick’s Day or a day or two earlier, in the White House, where they present shamrock to the President of the United States. A similar presentation is made to the Speaker of the House. Originally only representatives of the Republic of Ireland attended, but since the mid-1990s all major Irish political parties from north and south are invited, with the attendance including the representatives of the Irish government, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Féin and others. No northern Irish parties were invited for these functions in 2005. In recent years, it is common for the entire Irish government to be abroad representing the country in various parts of the world. In 2003, the President of Ireland celebrated the holiday in Sydney, the Taoiseach was in Washington, while other Irish government members attended ceremonies in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Savannah, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Korea, Japan and Brazil.

Saint Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland date from the late 19th century, originating in the growing sense of Irish nationalism.[citation needed] (The first parade did not begin in Ireland but in the British colonies – see below.)

Outside Ireland

In Canada

The longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Canada takes place each year in Montreal. The parades have been held in continuity since 1824; however, St. Patrick’s Day itself has been celebrated in Montreal as far back as 1759 by the Irish soldiers of the Montreal Garrison, following the British conquest of New France.

In Canada, Saint Patrick’s Day is an official holiday in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick’s Day a federal (national) holiday.

In the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the late Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (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 made up of Irishmen from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (as well as many Liverpudlians and other Britons). In 2006, London mayor Ken Livingstone organized a Saint Patrick’s Day parade five days before Saint Patrick’s Day with Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness.

In the United Kingdom it is also common for people to drink large amounts of Guinness in the hope of getting a ‘Guinness Hat’, a hat that pubs usually give away after a certain amount of the beverage has been consumed (usually five pints). This is increasingly popular with students.

The Cheltenham Festival usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day.

In the United States

Irish-American immigrants brought Saint Patrick’s Day to the United States. The first civic and public celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in the 13 colonies took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737.[3] The first celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in New York City was held at the Crown and Thistle Tavern in 1756.[4] In 1780, General George Washington, who commanded soldiers of Irish descent in the Continental Army, allowed his troops a holiday on March 17. This event became known as The St. Patrick’s Day Encampment of 1780. [5]

Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated in the United States by Irish and non-Irish alike. Many people, regardless of ethnic background, wear green-colored clothing and items. Traditionally, those who are caught not wearing green are pinched, leading to several St. Patrick’s Day items hosting phrases such as "Can’t pinch me!" It’s also said that if you pinch someone wearing green, everyone else can double pinch you back, even if you are wearing green. This tradition does not exist in Ireland.

Many parades are held to celebrate the holiday. The smallest of these is said to take place in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the United States; this parade is less than a single city block.[citation needed] Boulder, Colorado claims to have the shortest parade, which is also less than a single city block.[citation needed]

The New York parade has become the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world.[5] In 2003 more than 150,000 marchers participated in it, including bands, firefighters, military and police groups, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs. The parade marches up 5th Avenue in Manhattan and it attracts roughly two million people.[citation needed] Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch once proclaimed himself "Ed O’Koch" for the day. [3]

The New York parade has been dogged with controversy in recent years as its organizers have banned Irish gays and lesbians from marching as a group. Gay rights groups have fought in court to obtain the right to march alongside other organizations, and there have been calls in Ireland for a boycott of the parade. The gay groups and their sympathizers have lain down in the middle of the street at the start of the parade route, and were arrested when they refused to move; in the late 1980s such arrests averaged several hundred per year, but had dwindled to a dozen or less annually by the early 2000s.[citation needed] A tradition has begun in Queens of organizing a parade the week before the official Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The Queens parade is open to all organizations wishing to march. [citation needed]

The parade is organized and run by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.[citation needed] For many years, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the primary public function of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. On occasion the order has appointed controversial Irish republican figures (some of whom were barred from the U.S.) to be its Grand Marshal.[citation needed] They also have asserted their right to ban gay and lesbian from the New York parade.[citation needed]

The New York parade is moved to the previous Saturday (March 16) in years where March 17 is a Sunday. The event is also moved on the rare occasions when, due to Easter falling on a very early date, March 17 would land in Holy Week. This last occurred in 1913. That year the parade was held on Saturday, March 15, because Easter was on March 23 (making March 17 the Monday of Holy Week). This same scenario is scheduled to arise again in 2008, when Easter will also fall on March 23. In many other American cities (such as San Francisco), the parade is always held on the Sunday before March 17, regardless of the liturgical calendar.

Some U.S. cities paint the traffic stripe of their parade routes green. Others, including Chicago, dye major rivers green. Savannah, home of the world’s second-largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade, dyes its downtown city fountains green.

The longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S. are:

See also


  1. a b "The History of the Holiday." History Channel. (URL accessed March 15, 2006)
  2. "St. Patrick’s Day." St. Patrick’s Festival. (URL accessed March 17, 2006)
  3. a b Johnson, Bridget (March 17, 2006). "Lucky for the Irish". National Review Online.
  4. "March 17, 1756 in History." Brainy History. (URL accessed March 17, 2006)
  5. a b "Saint Patrick’s Day". Encarta (URL accessed March 17, 2006)

External links





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