What You Need To Know About St. Patrick’s Day
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Alcohol, food, and the color green; all terms that are associated with the wonderful holiday we know as Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick’s Day falls on March 17th and is the remembrance of Christianity coming to Ireland. In fact, Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday goes by many different names including: Patrick’s Day, St. Paddys Day, St. Patty’s Day, The Feast of Saint Patrick and my personal favorite, Lá Fheile Pádraig.
St. Patrick’s Day was established as an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. The most popular groups that celebrate this holiday are: the Catholic Church, Anglican Communion (Church of Ireland), Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, and the people of Ireland. St. Paddy’s Day is such a special holiday that the Lenten restrictions on eating meat and drinking alcohol are lifted for the festivities. The holiday is on March 17th because it is the day St. Patrick died. When he was 16, Irish raiders kidnapped him and took him as a slave to be a shepherd. St. Patrick was enslaved for 6 years, and through his enslavement he found God. He heard God telling him to flee to the coast where there would be a ship waiting for him. When St. Patrick returned from his journey, he became a priest. Later on, St. Patrick returned to Northern Ireland to convert pagan Irish to Christianity.
However, this still doesn’t explain why the color green and shamrocks are associated with St. Paddy’s day. Green has been connected to Ireland since it became popular in the 1640s when the Irish Catholic Confederation used the green harp flag. Around the 1680s, the color green and shamrocks started to be worn on St. Paddy’s day. Green has been apart of Irish nationalism since the 1790s as it was used by the United Irishmen, a republic organization lead by protestants but comprised of mainly of Catholics. They lead a rebellion against British rule of Ireland in 1798. During that time, people who supported the Irish wore green and this is where the phrase “wearing of the green” originated.
If you don’t have any plans for St. Patrick’s, you can always go to the festival in San Francisco. The festival starts at ten in the morning and ends at five in the evening, and the parade starts at 11:30 in the morning. There is no charge for admission so if you want food, a fun time, and to wear green, you should check it out.