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Christmas  |  Boxing Day  |  New Year  |  Valentine's Day  |  International Women's Day  |  April fools' day  |  Easter  |  Day of Knowledge  |  Halloween  |  St. Patrick's Day




 

St. Patrick's Day on March 17th


St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Irish and Irish at Heart in big cities and small towns alike with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Its a time for fun.


ABOUT SAINT PATRICK


            Many folk ask the question 'Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland ?' The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.


Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God."


Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name.
             There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the "evil eye." Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city.


 
Why Saint Patrick's Day?


Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.
            So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.
             In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!

            

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.


The Shamrock

            

The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland

because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.


             




The

Shamrock

, a typical Irish clover.

            

The St. Patrick's Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick's Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

         

 

 

Today, people celebrate the day with parades, wearing of the green, and drinking beer. One reason St. Patrick's Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring. One might say it has become the first green of spring.


                                                                                                                                From http://www.wilstar.com                                   



The First St. Patrick's Day Parade

           

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in

Ireland

but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through

New York City

on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

           

Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.


          

In 1848, several

New York

Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.

           

Each year, nearly three million people line the 1.5-mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston,

Chicago

, Philadelphia and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants.




No Irish Need Apply

            

Up until the mid-19th century, most Irish immigrants in America were members of the Protestant middle class. When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to a million poor and uneducated Irish Catholics began pouring into America to escape starvation. Despised for their religious beliefs and funny accents by the American Protestant majority, the immigrants had trouble finding even menial jobs. When Irish Americans in the country's cities took to the streets on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate their heritage, newspapers portrayed them in cartoons as drunk, violent monkeys.

           

However, the Irish soon began to realize that their great numbers endowed them with a political power that had yet to be exploited. They started to organize, and their voting block, known as the "green machine," became an important swing vote for political hopefuls. Suddenly, annual St. Patrick's Day parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans, as well as a must-attend event for a slew of political candidates. In 1948, President Truman attended New York City 's St. Patrick's Day parade, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and racial prejudice to find acceptance in America.



Wearing Green Around the World


                               


             

Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including

Japan

, Singapore and Russia. In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the

1970s

, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's

St. Patrick

's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.


The Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day

           

Chicago is famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river—enough to keep it green for a week!


           Today, in order to minimize environmental damage, only 40 pounds of dye are used, making the river green for only several hours. Although Chicago historians claim their city's idea for a river of green was original, some Savannah natives believe the idea originated in their town. They point out that, in 1961, Savannah mayor Tom Woolley had plans for a green river. Due to rough waters on March 17, the experiment failed, and Savannah never attempted to dye its river again.


Did You Know?

            

More than 100 St. Patrick's Day parades are held across the United States; New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.


St. Patrick's Day Celebration


 

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish. In 2009, roughly 26.1 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in the United States.


 

Irish soda bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent. 


 

Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations.


 St Patrick's Day Flag




Image of Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell. Illustration from book, Historic ornament : treatise on decorative art and architectural ornament, vol.2 by James Ward (1851 - 1924)



St Patrick's Neo-Gothic Cathedral

in

New York City

, as seen from Rockefeller center.


St. Patrick's Day Parade



 

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through

New York City


 

More than 100 St. Patrick's Day parades are held across the United States. New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations. 



At the annual New York City St. Patrick's Day parade, participants march up 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street. More than 150,000 people take part in the event, which does not allow automobiles or floats.


Places to Spend St. Patrick's Day



here are four places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland: Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK. 



ne U.S. towns share the name of Ireland's capital, Dublin. With 44,541 residents, Dublin, CA, is the largest of the nice, followed by Dublin, OH, with 39,310.


 

Other towns with the luck of the Irish include Emerald Isle,

North Carolina

and Irishtown,

Illinois

.



Irish Music

           

Music is often associated with


St. Patrick's Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs. After being conquered by the English, and forbidden to speak their own language, the Irish, like other oppressed peoples, turned to music to help them remember important events and hold on to their heritage and history. As it often stirred emotion and helped to galvanize people, music was outlawed by the English. During her reign,

Queen Elizabeth

I even decreed that all artists and pipers were to be arrested and hanged on the spot.

            

Today, traditional Irish bands like The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are gaining worldwide popularity. Their music is produced with instruments that have been used for centuries, including the fiddle, the uilleann pipes (a sort of elaborate bagpipe), the tin whistle (a sort of flute that is actually made of nickel-silver, brass or aluminum) and the bodhran (an ancient type of framedrum that was traditionally used in warfare rather than music).



The Snake


             

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.


       

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The "banishing of the snakes" was really a metaphor for the eradication of

pagan

ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

Corned Beef

             

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on

St. Patrick's Day

to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage.

             

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century.

              

Irish immigrants living on

New York City

's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.



The Leprechaun

              

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin," meaning "small-bodied fellow."

               

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

              

Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959,

Walt Disney

released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.


From http://www.history.com




 

 

 

 

                                                                               From  http://www.st-patricks-day.com/about_saintpatrick.html

 

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