Overview

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá ‘le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially is the feast day which annually celebrates Saint Patrick (386-493), the patron saint of Ireland, on March 17. It is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland (a bank holiday in Northern Ireland).

St Patrick on Ireland ShoreSt Patricks Day Parade Horse drawn cartCardinal Praying

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá ‘le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially is the feast day which annually celebrates Saint Patrick (386-493), the patron saint of Ireland, on March 17. It is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland (a bank holiday in Northern Ireland).

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide by Irish people and increasingly by many of non-Irish descent. Celebrations are generally themed around all things green and Irish; both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green, eating Irish food, imbibing Irish drink, and attending parades. The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland is part of a five day festival, with over 500,000 people attending the 2006 parade. Parades also take place in other Irish towns and villages across all of Ireland. The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in New York City and it is watched by 2 million spectators. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade was first held in New York City on 17 March, 1756 when Irish soldiers marched through the city. Other large parades include those in Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Munich, Coatbridge, Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Savannah, Pittsburgh, Denver, Sacramento, Scranton and Toronto. Large parades also take place in other places throughout Europe and the Americas, as well as Australia and Asia.

Chicago River Dyed Green Boston Parade New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade
Chicago River Dyed Green on St. Patrick’s Day Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Tokyo St. Patrick's Day Parade Australia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Munich St. Patrick's Day Parade
Tokyo St Patrick’s Day Parade Australia St. Patrick’s Day Munich Parade

As well as being a celebration of Irish culture, Saint Patrick’s Day is a Christian festival celebrated in the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland (among other churches in the Anglican Communion) and some other denominations. The day always falls in the season of Lent. In church calendars (though rarely in secular ones) Saint Patrick’s Day is moved to the following Monday when it falls on a Sunday. It is traditional for those observing a lenten fast to break it for the duration of Saint Patrick’s Day whenever March 17 falls on a Friday.

In many parts of North America, Britain, and Australia, expatriate Irish, those of Irish descent, and ever-growing crowds of people with no Irish connections but who may proclaim themselves “Irish for a day” also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, usually by drinking alcoholic beverages (lager dyed green, Irish beer and stout, such as Murphy’s Irish Stout, Smithwicks, Harp or Guinness, or Irish whiskey, Irish Cider, Irish Coffee or Bailey’s Irish Cream) and by wearing at least one article of green-colored clothing.

StPatricksDay.com's luckybeer-gogglesIrish dog with hatStPatricksDay.com's lucky 2