When you think of Saint Patrick’s Day, it’s most likely that images of green beer, Irish sayings and big green hats conjure in your mind, right? While all of this is well and good, there’s actually a lot information about the holiday’s origins and the Saint it celebrates annually on the 17th March.
History of Saint Patrick’s Day
Celebrated on the 17th March every year, Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday, where the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick is remembered.
Born in Roman Britain, Saint Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He escaped but later returned to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on 17 March 461, he had established monasteries churches and schools, and legends including that he drove snakes out of Ireland and used the Shamrock to explain the Trinity grew around him.
Nowadays, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated all around the world, in locations far from Ireland, including the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore and even Russia! People often wear green and enjoy Irish recipes including Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, beef and Guinness pie and Irish coffees.
Common Saint Patrick’s Day Traditions
The Colour Green
Known as the colour of Saint Patrick’s Day, many city icons around the world are turned green, and people cover themselves head to toe in green clothing, with those not adorning the colour receiving a pinch from others.
The colour green only became associated with Ireland in 1798, during the Irish Rebellion, where Irish soldiers wore green – the colour that contrasted the most with the red British uniforms – and sang the ‘wearing of the green’.
The most common Saint Patrick’s Day symbol is the shamrock – the leaf of the clover plant, which is also the symbol of the Holy Trinity.
Other symbols that are often seen at Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations include snakes, the Celtic Cross, harp and leprechaun’s.
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