Saint Patrick’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, is an annual cultural and religious celebration that takes place on March 17th of every year.
Many people don’t know that Saint Patrick was not Irish. He was born in Roman Britain with the birth name of Maewyn. Then, he got kidnapped into slavery and moved to Ireland. The turning point in Saint Patrick’s life was his escape from capture to a French monastery. He converted to Christianity and returned to Ireland as a missionary.
Saint Patrick became a bishop and even though Christianity was already widespread in Ireland, he was credited for spreading it even further and abolishing the pagan rites of the Druids at Tara. After his death, he was recognized as Ireland’s patron saint.
The Saint Patrick’s celebrations in the United States started with the Irish soldiers who fought the American Revolutionary War. Then, Irish emigrants created bigger celebrations including festivities and parades. It was their way of connecting with their roots in their new home.
How We Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day
Celebrations are always themed on the Irish cultural identity; they include Irish food and drinks. It’s also important to note that the green color dominates every Saint Patrick celebration; people dress in green, eat green food, and in many places dye water green (the most remarkable example was the river of Chicago in 2005)
The Shamrock has always been Saint Patrick’s day’s most relevant symbol as legend says the clover plant leaf was used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. The celebrations also feature the colors of the Irish flag (green, orange, and white) and Irish brands of beer.
Saint Patrick Day’s Biggest Celebrations
- New York: New York has always been known for hosting the United State’s (and probably the world’s) biggest Saint Patrick Day’s celebrations. The parades in the city include around 2 million people marching up 5th Avenue and stopping at the Saint Patrick’s cathedral along the way. The parade doesn’t allow floats and cars as it features between 100.000 and 250.000 participants including; dancers, bands, and bagpipes.
- Dublin: It’s absolutely logical for the capital of the Republic of Ireland to feature one of the biggest celebrations of an event that celebrates the Irish identity and culture. Saint Patrick celebrations in Ireland last five days and feature parades that last for hours with bands, street musical performances, and of course, the Irish Beer and Whiskey Festival.
- Chicago: While Saint Patrick celebrations in Chicago feature almost all the activities and festivities other places feature. The State of Chicago has always been faithful to the tradition of dying its river green on Saint Patrick’s day. On Saint Patrick’s Day, thousands of people gather to celebrate in Chicago and gather along the river to watch around 50 pounds of environmentally-safe dye turning a part of their river green.
Saint Patrick’s Day is an annual celebration for adults and children to share a great time together as they celebrate and learn more about Irish culture.