St Patrick’s Day

 Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance.  The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17. which falls during the Christian season of Lent. . Patrick's Day. his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century.When is it?  St. Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. drink and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17. Over the next 35 years. that parade is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States. Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. In 1848. Patrick's Day Parade. with over 150.000 participants. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums. . prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.The First Parade The first St. Along with their music. 1762. Today. several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St.

Who was St Patrick?  St. his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Although his father was a Christian deacon. . Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. But for all his celebrity. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. around 460 A. He is believed to have died on March 17. including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland. Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders  It is known that St. the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling. it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. the patron saint of Ireland. are false. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. At the age of sixteen.D. Patrick. Patrick.

According to his writing. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity. Lonely and afraid. Patrick escaped. becoming a devout Christian. . telling him it was time to leave Ireland.)  Guided By Visions  After more than six years as a prisoner.Who was he?  During this time. he turned to his religion for solace. he worked as a shepherd. a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream. outdoors and away from people.

Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo.  Soon after. After his ordination as a priest. where it is believed he was held. a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. Patrick began religious training.) . (Interestingly.What Happened ?  To do so. this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland. he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain.

Bonfires and Crosses  Familiar with the Irish language and culture. he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honouring their gods with fire. a powerful Irish symbol. He also superimposed a sun. onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross. so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish . For instance. Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs.

As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism.  By the seventeenth century. the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.The Shamrock  The shamrock. many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule. . which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts. was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.

banished all the snakes from Ireland. and with only a wooden staff by his side. Corned Beef  Each year. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick). thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. the island nation was never home to any snakes.  Though cabbage has long been an Irish food. St. corned beef only began to be associated with St. Ireland was completely Christianized. The "banishing of the snakes" was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Patrick's Day to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage. .  In fact. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century.The Snake  It has long been recounted that. during his mission in Ireland. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival.

" meaning "small-bodied fellow.The Leprechaun  The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin. Patrick's Day.  Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. leprechauns were cranky souls. tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Patrick's Day and Ireland in general. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore. In 1959. friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention. a Catholic holy day. but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. This cheerful. leprechauns were known for their trickery. ."  Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies. which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. Walt Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People. Patrick or the celebration of St. In Celtic folktales.