St Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick’s is a religious and cultural festival celebrated by Irish people all over the world on the death anniversary of the patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. It is celebrated every year on the 17th of March. The day is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland. It is marked by grand celebrations and feasts held not only in Ireland but throughout the world by the Irish diaspora.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN 2020 and beyond
|St. Patrick’s Day 2019
|17 March 2019
|St. Patrick’s Day 2020
|17 March 2020
|St. Patrick’s Day 2021
|17 March 2021
|St. Patrick’s Day 2022
|17 March 2022
|St. Patrick’s Day 2023
|17 March 2023
|St. Patrick’s Day 2024
|17 March 2024
|St. Patrick’s Day 2025
|17 March 2025
HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF THE SAINT PATRICK’S DAY
Saint Patrick (385–461) was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian Missionary who is widely believed to have brought and spread Christianity to Ireland. Born into a wealthy, Romano-British family, St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish Raiders when he was 16 years old and was brought to Ireland as a slave. It was during this time when he worked as a shepherd, completely alienated from his people and land, that he found solace in God and became a devout follower of Christianity.
According to his writing in the “Declaration”, he says that he heard the voice of God in a dream instructing him to leave Ireland. Following this he successfully escaped from his captivity and returned to Britain. He soon began reading and learning about Christianity and became a priest.
After 15 years he had another dream wherein he was asked to go back on a mission to Ireland to minister to the already existing Christians in Ireland and to convert the Pagan Irish people to Christianity. And thus, Saint Patrick successfully preached and converted thousands of Irish people to Christianity.
The people of Ireland widely accepted him as a Saint and in the following years, many legends grew around him which made him a highly popular figure in Irish and Christian History.
He passed away on 17th March at the age of 76, and ever since the day has been celebrated as Saint Patrick’s Day.
HOW IS THE DAY CELEBRATED?
Initially established as a religious festival, Saint Patrick’s Day today is a global celebration of Irish Culture. The Celebrations which were earlier limited only to Ireland are celebrated throughout the world today owing to the Irish diaspora. Apart from Ireland, major celebrations of this day can be seen in England, Malta, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, and many other countries.
The day is marked by thousands of people all dressed up in Green attires and shamrocks (as green is the color that represents Catholics in Ireland), parading the streets, having traditional Irish dancing and singing sessions, and drinking. The day is also called the “Feast of St Patrick’s” due to the lavish feasts and banquets that are held. Irish food and drink dyed in green color are also a part of these celebrations. It is a time when children can enjoy sweets and adults are allowed unrestricted drinking of alcohol.
Many sports competitions and matches are also held on this day.
Saint Patrick’s Day is commonly symbolized by a shamrock. The shamrock is a leaf of the clover plant which symbolizes the Holy Trinity. The flag of the Republic of Ireland is also often seen in St Patrick’s Day parades around the world. Symbols such as snakes and serpents, as well as the Celtic cross, are used for religious depictions. It is also believed that Saint Patrick added the Sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross which is now called a Celtic cross.
CRITICISM FOR St PATRICK DAY
However, Saint Patrick’s Day has also received a lot of criticism especially due to public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Also, the huge gatherings and parades make it very difficult to establish law and order in public places. Moreover, a lot of Christian Missionaries disapprove of the extravagant celebrations as they feel that it takes it astray from the original purpose of honoring St. Patrick. It is also often alleged to promote demeaning stereotypes about Irish people. Besides the historical authenticity of the legends of St Patrick’s has always been a controversial topic.
Every country and region has its days of celebrations and festivals but St. Patrick’s Day is undoubtedly one of the most culturally richest and grandest festivities to witness.