Beannachtai Na Feile Padraig Oraibh! St. Patrick’s Day blessing upon you!
I’ve always liked St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve always enjoyed wearing green and eating green foods such as green Jell-o or green peppers. I have a green bowtie I usually wear and last year I bought a St. Patrick’s Day shirt. Leprechauns, pot of gold and celebrations with family and friends is tantalizing to say the least.
I’m also part Irish. So to me it makes sense to celebrate and have a little fun with it. Even though I’m of the Mennonite faith (as I’m also part German) and not the Roman Catholic one, celebrating each March 17 is always a good time to be had. The best part is that no matter your ethnicity, religious or non-religious backgrounds, many people take part in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world.
St. Patrick’s Day actually has a long-standing history. The Irish have celebrated it annually on March 17 for more than 1,000 years. The day is a celebration of patron Saint Patrick who lived in the fifth century.
According to the website history.com, Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain and, at age 16, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland. He escaped, but came back to Ireland and received credit for bringing Christianity to the Irish. He was believed to have died on March 17, 461.
Mythology grew around him in the centuries to come as part of the Irish culture. One such legend was he explained the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, also known as the Holy Trinity, using the three leaves of a shamrock. A shamrock is a native Irish clover.
The Roman Catholic feast of St. Patrick began to be observed in Ireland in the ninth or 10th century. What I found curious is the first parade honouring St. Patrick’s Day took place in the United States on March 17, 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City.
The website stated that “along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.” I think it’s great people use parades and celebrations to connect with their roots.
Naturally the celebrations grew within the United States and parades became an annual tradition. Even to this day, traditions such as dyeing the Chicago River green every St. Patrick’s Day, live on. People of all backgrounds now celebrate the day around the world by feasting and celebrating.
St. Patrick’s Day was a traditional religious occasion. In Ireland, up until the 1970s, Irish laws dictated that pubs be closed on March 17.
It wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government started a national campaign to drive tourism, showcasing Ireland and the Irish culture to the world on St. Patrick’s Day.
Approximately one million people participate annually in Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, which features parades, concerts, outdoor theatre productions and fireworks shows.
I’ve never been to Ireland — not yet anyway. It’s on my list. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to take part in the celebration, too. But what’s most interesting is that people from all backgrounds participate in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
In a way, the date unifies many people around the globe. Unity is never something to complain about, especially considering the divided nature of we humans. Just remember to stay safe while partying and drinking out there.