Recognised as a national holiday, the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a variety of ways, including parades, musical expression, and performing arts. It is also a day of prayer and spiritual reflection. The day commemorates the start of the religion of Christianity in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day is named after St. Patrick, who was born on the border between England and Scotland. He came to Ireland as a slave. Six years later, he escaped, returning to his homeland. A vision inspired St. Patrick to return to Ireland to spread the gospel of Christianity. He held a church service in a small barn, spending most of his life converting Ireland’s citizens to the religion.
Many churches view St. Patrick as a saint, even though he isn’t canonized. Many believe that he died on March 17th, the day the Irish celebrate the holiday. It was an Irish Friar, named Luke Wadding, who worked to turn March 17th into a celebratory, feast day.
Countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Although the largest parade is in Dublin, Ireland, surprisingly, the first parade celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, in 1737, was in Boston, Massachusetts, a city in the United States. Dublin didn’t begin having a St. Patrick’s Day parade until 1931. However, its parade has grown to become an extravagant, well-attended event.
In Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day most businesses, including government agencies and other organisations, are closed. However, pubs, bars, and stores are open to help celebrate the festive holiday in Ireland and around the world.
Participants often wear green attire while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to show Irish pride, and to commemorate the life of the man who dedicated himself to introducing Irish citizens to Christianity. For Christians around the globe, St. Patrick’s Day has become a day for spiritual renewal in remembrance of St. Patrick’s tireless work to spread the Christian faith.