Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Bummer it’s on a Monday but if you have a super great Irish friend like we do I’m sure you were partying into the wee hours of Sunday morning too, yah!

St. Patrick’s Day was always the day I wanted to have my kids on.  I was born on Canada Day and Nana was born on Halloween so I thought it only fitting to have a child on another fun holiday such as this right?  I didn’t fail completely, they were born March 8 and March 9 so I was pretty close but not quite.  Anyway, instead of celebrating another birthday today, I just celebrate the start of spring since we’re a little over halfway through March and it’s coming, coming, coming; I saw geese yesterday which confirmed it!

geese

On Saturday night, someone asked what St. Patrick’s Day was all about and I realised I didn’t really know.  I don’t like not knowing stuff so I decided to find out then I figured I’d share so next time you’re having a conversation with someone about why the majority of the population drinks green beer today, you can tell them and look like a smartypants too.

StPatrick
Courtesy Denver Library – http://www.denverlibrary.org

According to Wikipedia, today was the day the Irish Saint, Patrick, died and those that celebrate Lá Fhéile Pádraig (the day of the festival of Patrick) do so in His honour to commemorate the day Christianity came to Ireland.  Celebrations involve parades, festivals, wearing of anything green and something called “ceili” which is a traditional Gaelic gathering involving folk music and dancing.  Because it’s a religious holiday that falls during Lent, all Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol are lifted for the day and that’s why everyone gets to drink green beer!

Today is actually a public holiday in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Montserrat, a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean but St. Patrick’s Day is recognized in countries throughout the world.

shamrock
Courtesy Premier Life – http://www.premierlife.ca

It is tradition to wear green or shamrocks today; the colour green has been associated with Ireland since the 1640’s and green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn today since at least the 1680’s.  Saint Patrick also used the three-leaf shamrock as a way to explain the holy trinity to Irish pagans; the first story appears in print in 1726.

St. Patrick’s Day is an obligatory holy day for Roman Catholics in Ireland and is also a feast day in the Church of Ireland.  Because of this, when St. Patrick’s Day falls within the Holy Week (the last week of Lent before Easter), the festive celebrations are moved to another day to honour the avoid the observance of feasts during solemnities.  Historically, this happened in 1940 when St. Patrick’s Day was moved to April 3 and again in 2008 when it was observed March 14.  The holiday does not fall within the Holy Week again until 2160 but the secular celebration will always be held on March 17.

In the 1990’s, the Government in the Republic of Ireland decided they wanted to use St. Patrick’s Day as a catalyst to showcase Ireland and the culture they embody.  They set up a group called St. Patrick’s Festival and set out to create an annual event that would show the world what it was like to be Irish and what their country and culture were all about.

The first festival was held March 17, 1996 and was a three-day event becoming a four-day event starting by 2000 and eventually a five-day event by 2006.  In 2009, the five-day Irish festival saw nearly 1 million visitors take in the outdoor concerts, theatre performances and festivals and fireworks!

In Canada, the longest-running and biggest St. Patrick’s Day festival held is in Montreal, Quebec; the parade has been held without interruption since 1824 but St. Patrick’s Day itself has been celebrated in Montreal since at least 1759 when Irish soldiers were stationed at the Montreal Garrison.

800px-Chris_Hadfield_in_the_Space_Station_on_Saint_Patrick's_Day
Courtesy Wikipedia – http://www.wikipedia.org

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated around the world for centuries but the farthest celebrations have taken place outside of earth’s atmosphere aboard the International Space Station!  Chris Hadfield, the Canadian-born astronaut well known for his quirky YouTube videos posted from space, celebrated 2013 in traditional Irish style with a green sweater and shamrock bow-tie.

Regardless if you find this information useful or not, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland says that everyone is Irish on March 17.

800px-Guinness_Storehouse_St._Patrick's_Day_sign
Courtesy Wikipedia – http://www.wikipedia.org

From one Irish descendent to another – may the luck of the Irish be with you today and always!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Cheers, Kim.

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