St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 and is a religious and cultural holiday originating in Ireland to recognize the country’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, who lived from 385 to 461 CE. The day became an official Christian feast day in the early 1600s and is observed primarily among the Catholic Church, particularly the Church of Ireland. Saint Patrick is known for bringing Christianity into Ireland, with over 60 churches in the country dedicated to him, and the holiday celebrates this as well as Irish culture and heritage.
Parades and festivals are common, and people wear green clothing, as well as the Irish Celtic Cross and shamrock imagery. It is said that Saint Patrick used the shamrock, also known as a clover or trefoil, to explain the Holy Trinity to the native pagans when he came to Ireland. Three was a sacred number in the pagan religion, and this helped Patrick in his effort to convert them. Leprechauns are also common symbols of the day, which are a type mythological creatures from Irish folklore that are known for hoarding gold and storing it at the end of rainbows. The holiday falls during Lent, but the church lifts the restrictions of the Lent season on St. Patrick’s Day for people to partake in drinking and eating otherwise banned foods. Because of this exception to the rule, alcohol has become a staple of every St. Patrick’s Day celebration.