Celebrating St. Patrick

Shamrocks, green beer or Irish heritage – all of these things might make St. Patrick’s Day that much more special, but really it’s a light-hearted day that most, in some way, will recognize.

Many might wear green next Monday, and others pinch those who aren’t wearing that particular colour. An odd custom to be sure, but it somehow fits with this day which dates back centuries to a mysterious fellow by the name of St. Patrick.

This man lived around the time 387 to 461 AD is the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day originated as a Catholic holiday and eventually became an official feast day in the early 17th century.

It gradually became more of a secular celebration of Irish culture. According to Wikipedia, originally the colour associated with St. Patrick was blue.

But over the years, the colour green and its association with St. Patrick’s Day grew.

Of course this is fitting with St. Paddy hailing from the ‘Emerald Isle.’

Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. “(St. Patrick) is said to have used the Shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. And the wearing and display of Shamrocks, and Shamrock-inspired designs, have become a ubiquitous feature of the day.”

Today, it’s a holiday that has reached an international status that the humble St. Patrick himself couldn’t have possibly dreamed of. Apart from wearing something green, one of the more common means of marking the holiday is by guzzling a pint of green beer for example. But there are much more unique ways that the day is commemorated as well. In past year, the water in the White House fountain has been dyed green to mark the occasion.

Not to be left out, Japan also marks the day. The first parade in Tokyo was organized in the early 1990s. The tiny island of Montserrat known as Emerald Island of the Caribbean, because of its founding by Irish refugees from St. Kitts and Nevis, is the only place in the world apart from Ireland the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador where St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.