Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on the 17th of March, originating in Ireland to celebrate the Irish culture and to commemorate Saint Patrick and Christianity in Ireland. The holiday is also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick and St. Paddy’s Day. Ironically enough, Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish; he was British. The holiday was made official back in the 17th century. Although it is mainly celebrated in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is also celebrated in more countries than most other national festivals. Parades, festivals, marching bands, and feasts are all part of honoring this day. It is also customary to dress in green attire on this day as well, since the color green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s. St. Patrick’s Day symbols include shamrocks, snakes, serpents, but mainly the Irish leprechaun. Parades have been held since 1903, but by 2006 the festival was held in Ireland and was 5 days long.
Britain, Russia, America, Canada, and countries in Asia have also been celebrating this holiday since the late 18th century. The New York City parade has about 200,000 marchers and 2 million spectators every year, and 40 percent of the American population celebrates this holiday. Many countries honor Ireland as well by participating in “Global Greening” and lighting their monuments and landmarks green. Landmarks such as the Colosseum, Great Wall of China, Empire State Building, and the London Eye have been lit up green in the past for St. Patrick’s Day. Even the Chicago River has been dyed green every year since 1962 to celebrate.
Saint Patrick’s Day holds a great amount of significance to the Irish community and many countries around the world.
By Shahd ElNaggar