Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday of Christian origin celebrated every year on March 17 to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick of Ireland, patron saint of the entire island of Ireland located northwest of continental Europe.

Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated only as a religious holiday in the past. It became a public holiday in 1903, by the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an Act of Parliament of Great Britain introduced by Irish MP James O’Mara.

Later, O’Mara introduced the law stating that taverns must be closed on March 17, which was appealed in the 1970s.

In the mid-1990s, the Irish government began to promote this festival internationally at the height of the grand celebrations in the world and thus promote the exaltation of Ireland through innovation, creativity, going back to the roots, and great marketing.

The first Saint Patrick’s Festival took place on March 17, 1996. In 1997 it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it had been extended to four days. Since 2006 the festival has lasted five days!

 The largest parade on St. Patrick’s Day is in New York City and usually attracts more than two million spectators.

History of Saint Patrick’s Day

Although this festivity is full of music and joy, it is a religious celebration since this day commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, patron saint of the Irish.

It is said that he was the one who brought Christianity to Ireland and rid the country of snakes. The snake thing is a metaphor that refers to the Irish putting aside paganism to become faithful Christians.

Beer, party, and green everywhere, this is Saint Patrick’s Day

This festival has spread to the United States, Mexico, and other Latin American and Europe nations. In these countries, the celebration is limited to living together, listening to good music, and drinking green beer in pubs. Still, large parties, parades, banquets, and carnivals are held in other places.

The green color and shape of the shamrocks come from the Irish Rebellion of 1789, as these were symbols of nationalism.

Saint Patrick is said to have used three-leaf clovers to teach and profess the word of the Holy Trinity.

Legend of Saint Patrick and the leprechauns

If you are wondering… what do leprechauns have to do with a religious festival?

Legends say that when Saint Patrick began to profess the Christian faith, it quickly spread throughout the country. However, some pagans continued to believe in other gods.

As far as leprechauns are concerned, it turns out that the priests of the “pagan churches” decided to take matters into their own hands to curb the popularity of Christianity. These priests called themselves Druids, and, according to the legends, they allied with the creatures.

The mission was for them to cause damage to the Church and Saint Patrick himself. When these mythological beings began to cause mischief in the temple, Saint Patrick confronted them in the name of God. The leprechauns, invaded by fear, fled, so the druids decided not to do anything against the Church again.

The Irish language

Irish is one of the oldest languages in Europe and has around 133,000 native speakers, most of whom, unsurprisingly, live in Ireland. It is the official language of Ireland and is recognized as a minority language in the United Kingdom, thanks mainly to the inclusion of Northern Ireland in the union.

Despite the small number of native speakers, Irish is also recognized as an official language in the EU. The translation of EU documents in Irish has an estimated cost of €3.5 million, so we can imagine it is probably the most expensive per inhabitant.

Possibly during these celebrations, you will come across some unknown words. Here we include some of the most typical words (and their meanings) that are usually associated with this holiday.

Shamrock – three-leaf clover used as a symbol of Ireland.

Emerald Isle – nickname referring to Ireland, coined by the poet William Drennan.

Leprechaun – small mythological creature with magical powers typical of the Irish imagination.

Fiddle – another way of calling the violin, an instrument very present in traditional Irish music.

Four-leaf Clover – a four-leaf clover, which is often considered a good luck charm.

St. Paddy’s Day – an informal way of referring to Saint Patrick’s Day.

Irish Tricolour – the name given to the national flag of the Republic of Ireland.

Pot of Gold – an imaginary reward associated with leprechauns and said to be found by reaching the end of a rainbow.

Guinness – a prestigious Irish brand of dark beer, which is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country.

Shillelagh – a club-like weapon that is part of Irish folklore.

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