17 March is one of the most widely celebrated days across the globe, St Patrick’s Day. The first celebration was held in America and mostly consisted of religious services and feasts, led by a small group of soldiers. Parades were later added and held by soldiers thus the recurring military theme in the parades.
It was originally a religious holiday that fell during the Lent period. Lenten prohibitions were lifted for the day so people could dance, drink and feast, this is the biggest reason drinking heavily is associated with this day.
Various traditions around the world include: parades, heavy drinking, dyeing water (rivers) and beer green, religious celebrations to thank St. Patrick for bringing Christianity to Ireland and in some areas, planting peas (colour and pea planting season).
St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland was kidnapped and brought to the country as a slave. He escaped, but later returned to do missionary work. He is known for bringing Christianity to the Irish people. Legend states that he explained the holy trinity using the three leaves of the shamrock. That is why the colour green and the three-leaf clover are representative of the day and the country. Though traditions have changed and the celebrations have become more raucous, it is a day celebrating all things Irish, giving thanks to the Patron Saint of the Irish People.
Read more about it in our latest issue here
[box] Written by: Ryette Dempsey