Saint Patrick’s Day
|Montreal, St Patrick’s Day parades. By Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose from Montreal,|
St Patrick’s Day became a public holiday in Ireland in 1903 thanks to an Irish MP James O’Mara. He was also responsible for a law which required pubic houses to close on March 17th to prevent public drunkenness. That law was not repealed until the 1970s.
The first St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford also in 1903. The week of St Patrick’s Day 1903 had been declared Irish Language Week by the Gaelic League and in Waterford they opted to have a procession on Sunday March 15.
Although Saint Patrick’s Day is traditionally held on March 17, but back in 2008 it was held a couple of days early after a decision by bishops as it coincided with Holy Week. Holy Week and St Patrick’s Day will not clash again until 2160.
St Patrick’s Day is a holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland, Labrador and Montserrat.
The color green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s.
Since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green in honor of the day.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the United States are full of leprechauns and the celebration of all things Irish. Leprechauns are actually fairies / shoe makers in Irish folklore.
Over 8 million St. Patrick’s Day greeting cards are exchanged in America making today the ninth-largest card selling occasion in the US.
|St. Patrick’s Day greetings card from the early 20th century|
New York City is said to have the world’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parade and celebration, with 150,000 in the parade and an audience of about 3 million.
Shamrocks symbolize the day; St Patrick used the shamrock’s three leaves to represent the Trinity. Explaining how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are connected. They are also Ireland’s national flower.