On Sunday 17th March, St Patrick’s Day will be upon us and it seems that everyone – not just the Irish – celebrate this day, including in other countries as far away as the US and Australia. So, who was St Patrick?
St Patrick was a Christian missionary given credit with converting Ireland to Christianity in the AD 400’s. It is estimated that Ireland officially became a Christian country in approximately 432AD. There are many legends around his life, that to this day it is not clear how much is true and how much is a myth.
His exact place and date of birth isn’t known however, it is believed he was born in Scotland around 375AD but was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, and once freed he became a priest; and it was during this time he converted Ireland to Christianity. It is also said that he died on 17th March, 460AD and this is why St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on this date every year.
So how do people celebrate the date? In Dublin they have a huge parade to celebrate St Patrick’s life. There is also a website dedicated to the celebrations (www.stpatricksfestival.ie) with all the events going on in and around the city over the weekend from the 14th to the 18th March, including Irish culture nights, turning all the city lights green and lots of traditional singing and storytelling. The weekend ends with the annual Festival 5K Road Race on Monday 18th March.
In New York there is also a big parade that thousands of people flock to watch, with the first St Patrick’s Day parade held in 1766. Last year, even the fountain outside the Whitehouse had green dye put in it to celebrate the date!
Fun facts about St Patrick’s Day:
– Approximately 13-14 million pints of Guinness are expected to be sold around the world
– The celebration ranks among the biggest drinking days of the year behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas and the 4th of July
– One of the Irish traditions is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St Patrick’s Day. Also, as we all know, the Shamrock, is the official flower of Ireland. Why? Because it is said that St Patrick used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity so there are Shamrock’s everywhere when it comes to the celebrations
– St Patrick’s Day is a way for the people of Ireland to celebrate their pride and heritage. If you find yourself celebrating for St Patrick’s Day, you’ll be celebrating with roughly 33 million others around the world!
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