St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday which celebrates Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick was one of the patron saints of Ireland credited with spreading the Catholic religion to many areas of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day takes place on the 17th day of March each year, which is the day which Saint Patrick died.
St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland with many businesses being closed on the day. In other parts of the world, especially the US and Canada, it is widely celebrated but is not an official government holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. Interestingly enough, occasionally the church authorities move the date of the holiday because of its clash with other holy days. In 2008 this is the case, and it shall be moved to March 15th to avoid Holy Monday.
Catholics around the world will start off their St. Patrick’s Day with a Mass service which is held to signify the holiday.
Here in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by everyone being of Irish decent for the day. The day has become more of a secular holiday than one of religion. Here in the United States St. Patrick’s Day has taken on more of a meaning of celebrating the beginning of spring. This goes along with the tradition of wearing green on the day, because green is both the color of Ireland as well as the color which signifies life and growth. It is said that you will be lucky for the coming Spring if you wear green on the holiday.
Amazingly, St. Patrick’s Day began being celebrated here in the United States with a parade in Queens New York in 1737, well before the Revolutionary War. Since that day, parades are a very popular way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Many people wear a shamrock on the holiday to signify good luck. However, the roots of this tradition, it is said, come from St. Patrick using a shamrock to explain to the pagans the concept of the Holy Trinity. In the Catholic Religion, the Holy Trinity is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which Christians know all stem from the same God. The three leaves of the shamrock all connected to the same stem were used to explain this concept to the pagans. If you are wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, it means that you can claim good luck or blessings on that day and for the rest of the year.
In addition to the shamrock, many people believe that the cute little fictitious Leprechaun character can bring you good luck. For this reason many people wear Leprechaun pins and other memorabilia on St. Patrick’s Day as well as a shamrock.
One of the fun and very popular traditions which goes along with St. Patrick’s Day is the consumption of green ale. Many bars and pubs add green food coloring to their beer on the holiday to serve to their customers. In addition to the green ale, many people also indulge in Irish Cream and Irish Whisky on the day as well. For the kids, a nice green lemonade or 7UP make great non-alcoholic alternatives.