What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day honours Saint Patrick, the man who brought Christianity to Ireland. This annual celebration on March 17th began as a holiday however it has grown into a global celebration of Ireland, its people, it’s food and it’s rich culture.

What is the background to Saint Patrick’s story?
Saint Patrick was born in Britain in the late 300s to early 400s. The year of his death is unknown. As the story goes, pirates captured him when he was just 16. Patrick was sold as a slave in Ireland where he worked as a shepherd for six years. He escaped and returned home and after years of religious training Patrick went back to Ireland where he converted many people to Christianity. There are several legends about Saint Patrick, one of which says that he drove away all the snakes in Ireland. Another legend says that he used the three parts of a shamrock leaf to explain the idea of the Trinity. The Trinity refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Christian religion.

How is it celebrated?
In Ireland the Emerald Isle takes St. Patrick’s Day very seriously. The festival lasts five days in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, attracting more than 500,000 people annually. It features a parade, a fair with carousels and roller coasters (among other attractions), and a massive outdoor dance party called the Céilí Mór. The festivities begin with famous buildings across Ireland, including Blarney Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Bank of Ireland being lit up in green. Around the world many people celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by wearing green. Some wear green shamrocks on their outfits (three-leafed clovers). Green and shamrocks are symbols of Ireland. Certain foods are eaten like corned beef and cabbage. Many cities with large Irish populations have huge public celebrations. in the United States Boston in the held its first Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in 1737 while New York city began the tradition of holding a parade for the occasion in the 1760s. Chicago dyes its river green for Saint Patrick’s Day.

How do other countries around the world celebrate?
Here in Fiji resorts celebrate the event with Irish themes serving cuisine like the Irish staples, Irish Stew and Irish steak. They also include many other things like green burgers and green drinks as well as other green treats right up to green desserts. Resaurants and clubs do the same and have themed events with creative decorations to commemorate the day. In New Zealand around 20 percent of its citizens have Irish ancestry, and the country pays homage to this heritage every March. Major cities such as Wellington host massive parades and attendees dress in green, dancing to Irish flute music. The country also hosts its St. Patrick’s Day festival in Auckland with music, dance, and a parade. In Australia St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Brisbane spread over 10 days and include a parade, Irish dancing, dinners, and boxing matches. In Australia’s Northern Territory, the festivities include a family sports day consisting of games such as egg and spoon, wheelbarrow, and three-legged races. Tokyo, Japan, hosts the largest Irish celebration in Asia – more than 50,000 people attended the event in 2019. St. Patrick’s Day in Japan includes a parade, musical performances, and thousands of people dressed in green. Japan also organises an “I Love Ireland Festival,” attended by a multicultural crowd. Argentina – Buenos Aires is the home of South America’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Every year, more than 500,000 people gather in the city to enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day parade, live music, and an open-air festival that lasts well into the night!

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