St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of St. Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17, the date of the traditional death of St. Patrick (c. 385-461 AD), the most important patron saint of Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day became an official day of Christian feast at the beginning of the seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the legacy and culture of the Irish people in general. The celebrations generally include public parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the use of green attires or clovers. Christians who belong to liturgical denominations also attend church services and historically the Lenten restrictions for eating and drinking alcohol rose during the day, which has encouraged and propagated the tradition of alcohol consumption at festivities.
St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (for employees of the provincial government) and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish Diaspora around the world, especially in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been heavily influenced by those of the Irish Diaspora, particularly those that developed in North America. In recent years, the celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day have been criticized for having been marketed too much.
Celebration and traditions
Today’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have been heavily influenced by those that developed among the Irish diaspora, especially in North America. Until the end of the 20th century, St. Patrick’s Day was often a larger celebration among the diaspora than in Ireland.
The celebrations generally include public parades and festivals, sessions of traditional Irish music (céilithe) and the use of green garments or clubs. There are also formal meetings such as banquets and dances, although these were more common in the past. The St. Patrick’s Day parades began in North America in the 18th century, but did not extend to Ireland until the 20th century. Participants generally include bands, military, fire departments, cultural organizations, charities, voluntary associations, youth groups, fraternities, etc. However, over time, many of the parades are more like a carnival. A greater effort is made to use the Irish language, especially in Ireland, where the week of St. Patrick’s Day is the “Irish Language Week”. Recently, famous monuments have been illuminated in green on St. Patrick’s Day.
Christians can also attend church services, and the Lenten restrictions for eating and drinking alcohol are raised for the day. Perhaps because of this, the consumption of alcohol, especially Irish whiskey, beer or cider, has become an integral part of the celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day custom of “drowning the clover” or “dipping the clover” was historically popular, especially in Ireland. At the end of the celebrations, a clover is placed in the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with whiskey, beer or cider. Then it is drunk as a toast by Saint Patrick, Ireland or those present. The clover would be swallowed with the drink or taken out and thrown over the shoulder for good luck.
On St. Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear green clothes, shamrocks or green accessories (the “carry of green”), the color associated with Catholics in Ireland (orange is the color associated with Protestant Christians). ). It is said that Saint Patrick used the clover, a three-leaf plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish pagans. This story appears for the first time in the writing in 1726, although it can be earlier. In pagan Ireland, three were a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities, a fact that may have helped St. Patrick in his evangelistic efforts. Patricia Monaghan says there is no evidence that the clover was sacred to the Irish heathens. However, Jack Santino speculates that he may have represented the regenerative powers of nature, and was recast in a Christian context-St. Patrick’s icons often depict the saint “with a cross in one hand and a twig of clovers in the other” . Roger Homan writes: “Perhaps we can see St. Patrick turning to the visual concept of the triskel when he uses the clover to explain the Trinity.”
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 clovers have been used on St. Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s. The Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, an Irish fraternity founded around 1750, adopted the color green. However, when the Order of St. Patrick was founded in 1783, an Anglo-Irish cavalry order adopted blue as a color, which led to the blue associated with St. Patrick. During the 1790s, green would be associated with Irish nationalism, due to its use by the United Irishmen. This was a republican organization, led mainly by Protestants but with many Catholic members, who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “dressing in green” comes from a song of the same name, which bemoans the supporters of United Irishmen who are persecuted for wearing green. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the color green and its association with St. Patrick’s Day grew.
The use of the “cross of St. Patrick’s Day” was also a popular custom in Ireland until the early 20th century. These were a Celtic Christian cross made of paper that was “covered with silk or ribbon of different colors, and a bouquet or green silk rosette in the center”.
In recent decades, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have been criticized, particularly for its association with drunkenness and public disorder. Some argue that the festivities have become too commercial and tacky, and have deviated from their original purpose of honoring St. Patrick and the Irish heritage. Niall O’Dowd has criticized recent attempts to recast St. Patrick’s Day as a celebration of multiculturalism instead of a celebration of Irish.
The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have also been criticized for fomenting the degrading stereotypes of Ireland and the Irish. An example is the use of “leprechaun costumes”, which are based on derogatory 19th century caricatures of the Irish. In the run-up to 2014 Saint Patrick’s Day, the Old Order of Hibernians campaigned successfully to prevent major US retailers from selling novel products that promoted negative Irish stereotypes.
Some have described the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations outside of Ireland as a “Plastic Paddyness” show; where foreigners appropriate and distort Irish culture, claim Irish identity and enact Irish stereotypes.
LGBT groups in the US they were forbidden to march at St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York and Boston, resulting in the historic decision of the Hurley Supreme Court. Gay Irish-American, Group of Lesbians, and bisexuals of Boston. In New York City, the ban was lifted in 2014, but LGBT groups still find barriers to participation. In Boston, the ban on LGBT group participation was lifted in 2015.
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