Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, the most ‘Irish’ time of the year – a day full of shenanigans, tomfoolery, and most importantly, craic.
But what really is St. Patrick’s Day?
What started off as a religious festival commemorating Christianity in Ireland has turned into a worldwide celebration of Irish heritage and culture. Cork English College is here to give you the low-down!
Did you know that March 17th is actually the day St. Patrick died? Yes, every year we mark the death of our national saint by having a parade and celebrating all that is Irish.
The national saint of Ireland was actually born in England! Young Patrick was kidnapped as a sixteen-year old and worked as a shepherd in Ireland, which is when he discovered his faith. He became very religious throughout his time in Ireland.
One night, Patrick had a dream in which he was told to go to the coast to catch a ship home to England. He took this ship and got to England safely, returning to Ireland later in his life to preach Christianity. He used a shamrock to explain the trinity of God, which is why the shamrock remains to this day an important Irish symbol.
Fun fact! The legend goes that St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland, but did you know that these so-called ‘snakes’ are actually a metaphor for the druids of the time? Therefore, what Patrick really did was abolish paganism from Ireland through introducing Christianity (so Ireland was, and remains to this day, a snake-free zone!)
Present day celebrations
St. Patrick’s Day is an international festival. In fact, it is a bigger celebration amongst Irish communities abroad than in Ireland itself! Parades can be found in many different countries – a far cry the first parade in Ireland in Waterford in 1903!
The New York parade is the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world, as well as the oldest civilian parade in the world. Each year it attracts more than 2 million spectators!
As per The Global Greening Initiative, over 80 landmarks around the world turn green for St. Patrick’s Day – including the Colosseum and Tel Aviv city hall!
So how can you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Parades are held all over Ireland.
See the picture below for a better idea of what to expect at the parade.
For details of this year’s parade in Cork, visit: http://www.corkstpatricksfestival.ie/