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Saint Patrick's Day parade, O'Connell Street, Dublin
Saint Patrick's Day, colloquially St. Paddy's Day or simply Paddy's Day, is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), a saint of the Orthodox and Catholic churches, and one of the patron saints of Ireland, generally celebrated by the catholics on the 17th of March, a national holiday of Ireland.
Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide by those of Irish descent and increasingly by people of other ethnicities as well, notably in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and North America. Celebrations are generally themed around all things Irish and, by association, the colour green. Both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green, eating Irish food and/or green foods, imbibing Irish drink (such as Irish stout, especially Guiness, Irish Whiskey or Irish Cream) and attending parades, which have a particularly long history in the United States and in Canada.
Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century, even though St. Patrick's Blue was the colour traditionally associated with St. Patrick. He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from the song of the same name.
The first St. Patrick's Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931 and was reviewed by the then Minister of Defence Desmond Fitzgerald. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday remains a religious observance in Ireland, for both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Church.
SOURCE: Failte Ireland, courtesy of Tourism Ireland.
NOTE: The information regarding Ireland on this page is re-published from other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Ireland information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Ireland photos should be addressed to the copyright owner noted below the photo.
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This page was last modified 25-APR-09
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