March 17th marks the day of St Patrick, celebrated by millions of people around the world. In Ireland, St Patrick’s Day was always held as an important religious day but today its celebrated as Ireland’s national holiday.
As St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland it became a major day in Ireland’s religious calendar and has always been mainly associated with Christianity.
Typical Traditions & Customs of St Patrick’s Day
There are a number of things that are associated with St Patrick’s Day and the whole celebration that surrounds it. Some are old Irish traditions and are directly related to celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland and others are more recent such as being Irish for a day.
The wearing of the green on St Patrick’s Day
Many people wear something green on St Patrick ’s Day which is known in the U.S. and other countries as wearing of the green. Usually people would wear green to show their Irish heritage & culture on the day that everyone’s Irish but in Ireland the wearing of the green doesn’t really exist, well in terms of celebrating our culture. However, we do wear Shamrocks to symbolize the teaching of the holy trinity by St Patrick – although we’ve no real evidence this was actually trued. A small bunch of Shamrocks would be pinned to the breast of our outer coats and should be away worn when attending Church.
Holy day of obligation
Most, if not all, practising Christians in Ireland will attend Church as St Patrick’s Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. Family members would attend Church wearing their shamrocks and afterwards head home for a large roast, similar to a typical Sunday roast. Some families would sit around and watch the St Patrick’s day parades take place in Dublin, New York, Chicago and other major cities.
The drinking of green beer
In Ireland you would be hard pushed to find a pub that served green beer and actual fact this is not a typical tradition of Ireland but is that of the U.S. & Canada. Some places in Ireland, such as Dublin, may have a few pubs that will serve green beer but for the most part it’s not something we generally do.
Did you know that pubs in Ireland had to remain shut for St Patrick’s Day? It wasn’t until the late 1970’s the Irish law permitted pubs to open their doors on March 17th.
A day of parades & festivals
Another American tradition for celebrating St Patrick’s day is the parades. First started in New York City in 1766 the parades have become a major attraction for millions around the world. Today hundreds of parades take places in many different countries with thousands in attendance.
Did you know that it wasn’t until 1995 when the Irish government decided to start holding a parade in Dublin, to help boost tourism?
It’s now known in Ireland as St Patrick’s festival which takes place over 5 days with events including art shows, plays, concerts, fun fairs and the main parade.