Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration that happens annually on March 17 th to mark the death date of the most commonly-recognised patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. It is also a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Newfoundland, and Labrador and Montserrat. The color green, pots of gold, shamrock, and leprechaun are often associated with the celebration.
Quick Key Facts
- St. Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day celebrating the patron saint the day is named after.
- St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland and is usually celebrated on March 17.
- St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular holiday in the United States. People wear green and eat corned beef and cabbage.
- It is believed St. Patrick, a Roman-Britain-born Christian missionary, was born in the late fourth century and is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people.
- It is also believed St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. However, post-glacial Ireland never actually had snakes. Many believe that the term “snakes” referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place. Today, there are no snakes to be found!
- Most people, whether they are Irish or not, wear green on this day. One of the Irish traditions is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day.
- Irish immigrants began observing the holiday in Boston in 1737 and the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1766.
- Corned beef and cabbage are traditional foods eaten on this holiday.
- The shamrock, pot-of-gold and leprechauns are also associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The shamrock was worn as a badge on the lapel. Three is Ireland’s magic number and the three petals that make up the shamrock are supposed to bring good luck. The three leaves also represent the Trinity in the Christian religion.
- The leprechaun is a small Irish fairy. He is dressed like a shoemaker, with pointed shoes and hat. He also wears a leather apron. Leprechauns are supposed to be unfriendly little men who lives alone in the forest, spending all of their time making shoes and guarding their treasures. If someone catches a leprechaun, he will be forced to tell where he hides all his pots of gold. However, the leprechaun must be watched at all times. If his captor looks away, the leprechaun will vanish along with his treasure.
- St. Patrick’s Day has become a holiday all around the world and for one day out of the year anyone can be Irish and join in the celebration.