Every year, on March 17, the entire world turns green with envy and open declarations if Irish heritage. We all know that St Patrick’s day is on the way with such Irish declarations start around the 10 of March. It’s like a universal alarm clock ringing out across the lands. One in which we can’t seem to find the snooze button for. Once you push past these claims and cultural misappropriations there’s actually a really interesting history behind St Patrick’s day.
History of St Patrick’s Day.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”
The celebration of St Patrick’s Day falls on the 17 March, which is generally believed to be the date that St Patrick died (c. AD 385–461). The day, traditionally, celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and in general the heritage and culture of the Irish people. Again falling back to tradition, celebrations took place during Lent. Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast–on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
Who is St Patrick?
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.
Why do we all wear Green?
Wearing “the green” is associated with St Patrick’s use of the three leave clover and is heavily associated with the Catholic church. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s. So why break with tradition?
Celebrating from a real Irish lady’s point of view
St.Patrick’s day is the most internationally celebrated national holiday in the world. No other country has a day like ours, and I am SO proud of that. Most years I tend to be out of the country for St.Patrick’s day. I have been in New Zealand for the past two years, the UK and France the years before that (all of them celebrated St. Patrick’s Day). This year will be the first in ages that I’ll be in Dublin. As a child my mam always brought my sister and I to the big parade in town. I used to get my face painted, put on my best green outfit and wave my tiny Irish flag as the floats went by. One year, in secondary (high) school, my class was chosen to be part of the St.Patrick’s festivities. They theme the parade every year and we ended up being penguins! We had a giant iceberg float with a slide going down the middle. SO for the duration of the parade we had to dance around the float, then climb up and slide down. I’m not 100% sure what it had to do with St.Patrick, but it was fun! Usually though, I avoid central Dublin because it’s full of under-age teens trying to get passersby to buy them alcohol (how selfish, the alcohol is all for me). This year I plan to partake in the St. Patrick’s Festival from the 16th to the 19th. Treasurehunts, céilís (Irish set dancing parties), food tours, mystery tours and more are on offer. I’m not a BIG Guinness fan (sacrilege), so I’ll have a Jameson with ginger and try stick to my local area instead of the chaos of town.
Tara, Where Is Tara
Celebrating in Singapore.
St Patrick’s Day in Singapore is dubbed as the biggest celebration of this Irish cultural event in South East Asia. Locals and expats alike enthusiastically anticipate a whole weekend affair starting off with family activities including games, face painting, airbrush tattooing and more. Then a massive street festival follows featuring a parade of marching bands and participants in inventive costumes and of course, in kilts, making their way along the Singapore river to where the party takes place – a distinctive Irish Pub in Circular Road! A throng of participating bars and restaurants in the area will be offering special green tinted food and drinks for the whole month of March, with only one exception: the Guinness Stout! Everyone is also encouraged to wear green to celebrate and be one with the crowd. As with any great party, performance and music will always be among the highlights. Dance away to traditional Irish beats, Rock & Roll and mainstream tunes spun by the DJ with each music genre hosting their own stage, so take your pick! I guaranteed you’d have the time of your life and meet new friends from everywhere!
Sara, 31 And Over
Celebrating in Dublin as a foreigner.
Celebrating in Australia
Sadly for us we can’t claim any distinctly known Irish heritage. Both James and I have a fairly anglo-saxon Scottish/Welsh/English backgrounds. This, however, does not stop us from embracing the Green and celebrating the luck of the Irish. Like the rest of the world every woman and her dog seems to be some variety of Irish on St Patrick’s day. There’s barely a bar, pub, restaurant or cafe that doesn’t cash in on this joyous celebration. If you feel like a more traditional experience then you won’t have any problems finding an Irish Pub to celebrate in.
Personally we like to find the closest Irish pub and have a few ciders.
How do you like to celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Let us know in the comments below.
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Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.
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