St Patricks Day

Tuesday 17 March 2015
stpatricks day

St Patricks Day is a celebration of Irish heritage celebrated in Ireland each year on 17 March.

It provides an annual opportunity to appreciate the Irish culture and traditions. Irish music concerts, dancers, exhibitions, theatre performances and religious services are held throughout March each year.

St Patricks day is celebrated by wearing green, eating green foods, and drinking popular Irish drinks – Guinness, Jameson Irish Whiskey or Baileys Irish Cream.

Celebrated for centuries Saint Patrick’s Day has changed from a very religious holiday to commemorate a great saint of the Catholic Church to become a secular holiday celebrated in Ireland predominantly. As the Irish diaspora has spread throughout the world the celebrations and traditions involved with this special day have quickly become very special for those who share an Irish heritage.

Festivals

Festival of Cheltenham
A large festival which typically has thousands of people with Irish heritage come out to celebrate. Called the Festival of Cheltenham, the main event at this gathering is the racing of horses. This festival usually falls right on the same day as St. Patty’s Day, but for some years, it has changed to a day before or a day after.

Birmingham
The largest festival in Britain for St. Patricks Day is the one held in Birmingham. This is the most popular event for both Irish and non-Irish citizens of England. In the centre of the city, there is an enormous parade highlighting the Irish people in Britain. Those who organise this event have called it one of the largest parades dedicated to Saint Patrick’s Day in the world. Likely the largest celebration for this green holiday after the ones held in New York City and Dublin, the Birmingham St. Patrick’s Day party is massive. The route for the parade is around 3km long and goes right through the middle of the city.

London
Typically, the parade is restricted to the weekend closest to the actual day of Saint Patrick’s Day, and the festival is usually set up in Trafalgar Square.

Liverpool
The  port city of Liverpool has been celebrating massive celebrations for St. Patty’s Day for years. This city in England has the highest proportion of people with Irish heritage in the entire country of Britain. The proximity of Liverpool to the Irish Sea has caused it to attract many Irish people to its banks. There is traditional music, parades, and cultural events.

Manchester
Manchester holds a long celebration which is stretched over a 2 week period. These days of celebration are held during the two weeks which lead up to March 17. The city of Manchester sets up an authentic market based on old markets in and around Ireland. There are also many cultural events designed to teach about the beginnings of Irish heritage.

Scotland
In Scotland, the town named Coatbridge has a majority Irish population. The St. Patrick’s Day party which is held there has several parades about town. Glasgow has recently started its own festival to commemorate the day, with events having been officially started in 2007.

History

Saint Patrick  was taken prisoner in the fourth century AD and taken to the island of Ireland. After having a dream sent from God, Patrick acted on the divine instructions and escaped from captivity and went to the coast.

Once he was there, he boarded a ship destined for England. After arriving back home, Patrick felt the call to service of God. He became a priest and decided to return to the country of his past capture, Ireland. There he taught and evangelised the Irish people.

The reason that the three leaf clover is used so much is that Saint Patrick himself used the leaf to teach about one of the basic elements of Christianity, the Holy Trinity.

After this, all events tied to Saint Patrick were celebrated with the natural colour of the clover leaf, which is green. The clover leaf is also known as a shamrock, and it is currently the most widely used symbol for the Saint Patrick’s Day  in the whole world.