Ireland

St. Patrick’s Festival

 

 

 

 

Every year on March 17 cities and towns throughout the country celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  Born in Roman Britain in the fifth century, St. Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland at the age of 16.  He escaped but returned to Ireland, and is credited with bringing Christianity to its inhabitants.   Traditionally a religious holiday falling in the Christian season of Lent, St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated for over 1,000 years with Irish families attending church in the morning and partying in the afternoon.  Prohibitions against the consumption of meat during Lent were waived, and the revelers would dance, drink and eat the traditional Irish meal of corn beef and cabbage.

 

Until 1995, pubs were required by law to be closed on March 17.  At that time, the Irish government rescinded the law when it chose to encourage tourism and showcase Irish culture to the rest of the world. Today, a million people participate in the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin.  Parades take place across the country, with celebrations also occurring around the world, particularly in the U.S., Canada and Australia, but also Japan, Singapore and Russia.  Festivities include dancing, music and considerable amounts of drinking. 

 

The most common symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock, a leaf of the clover plant, and participants wear green clothing.  Even beer is often dyed green to celebrate the occasion!

 

 

 

 





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