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St. Patrick's Day-The History and the Pride

Updated on February 14, 2012

If you are from an Irish background, you may have been celebrating St. Patrick's Day for many years now. I come from a family who loves to celebrate and wear green to boast about their love for the Irish traditions. But many do not know the history of this holiday. Who was this St. Patrick and why was he so special that there was a holiday created to remember him?

St. Patrick's Life and History

This Roman Britain from the 4th century was born into a rich Romano-British family where both his father and grandfather were known deacons of the church. When he was 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and forced to be a slave. As his story goes, he was visited by God in a dream and told to flee from captivity to go to the coast where he could get on a ship and return to Britain. When he returned, he promptly joined the Church in Auxerre which was in Gaul and concentrated on studying to be a priest.

In the year 432 he felt he was being called to go back to Ireland to help guide the Christians in the role of a bishop. The shamrock has been associated with this holiday because it is said that he used the shamrock as a teaching method when explaining how the Trinity is comprised of the The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He remained teaching the practices and beliefs of evangelism to his loyal parishioners and died March 17th in 461, being buried according to tradition at Downpatrick. He has been held in esteem in the Irish Church for his endurance and persistence through all things as he labored to teach and help those in his charge.

This holiday began as a religious holiday and soon bloomed into an official "feast day" in the early 1700's. As time has gone by it has now become more of a secular celebration for those who cherish their Irish culture and heritage.

The First Festival in Ireland

The first St. Patrick's Festival in Ireland began March 17th in 1996. In 1997 is grew to be a three day event and by 2006 it had extended to be a whole 5 day festival with more than 675,000 people in attendance for the 2009 parade. By the end of the 5 day event in 2009, there were a recorded near 1 million visitors who came to take part in the food,concerts, outdoor theater performances and fireworks.

Celebrations in Argentia

In Argentina all night long parties are held on designated streets since it is warm there in the March month. In 2006, there were 50,000 people in the streets and pubs in the downtown area of Reconquista.

Canadian Celebrations and Traditions

In Canada, Montreal boasts the longest St. Patrick's Day parade in North America. There have been parades running through these streets since 1824. Another quick history fact that may be interesting to those who love hockey. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team(my home team!), used to be known as the Toronto St. Patricks from the years of 1919 to 1927, and they wore green jerseys. There is a large parade for St. Patricks Day that is also held in Toronto that attracts over 100,000 visitors.

While Newfoundland and Labrador are the only jurisdictions in Canada to who recognize this day as a provincial holiday, some groups including Guinness are lobbying to make it a National holiday throughout the land.

Festivities within Great Britain

In Great Britain the Queen Mother was known for presenting bowls of shamrock that were flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards which is a regiment of the British Army which primarily consists of solidiers that are from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland itself.

Horse racing is a big attraction with large numbers of Irish people flocking to the Cheltenham Festival. Birmingham still hosts the largest St. Patrick's Day parade with over a 2 mile route that goes through the center of the city. It is described as the third biggest parade in the world after the Dublin and New York parades. If you are looking for a lot of music,a parade and a ton of cultural events being celebrated, Liverpool is the place to visit. London, Manchester, the Scottish town of Coatbridge, and Glasgow all have their own city festivals and get togethers as well.

Cultural Remembrance in Montserrat

Montserrat is a tiny island known as the "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" due to it's founding and early inhabitants being Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis.This is the only other place in the world other than the Canadian provinces and Ireland who recognize and celebrate this day as a public holiday. It is a day for remembering when the slaves rose up with protest on March 17th, 1768 even if it was a failed attempt at the time.

South Korean Recognition

South Korea also has a celebration for St. Patrick's Day in the capital city of Seoul. Since 2001 this place has held a parade and festival that has been moved from Itaewon and Daehangno, and finally on to Chenoggyecheon.

Parties in New Zealand

In New Zealand they also hold great celebrations wearing green clothing and running down the streets with drinking and laughing from early afternoon until late in the night. This day is celebrated as a day to recognize the social, political and educational advances that have been made throughout New Zealand due to the impact of the Irish heritage.

Japanese and Irish heritage mix

In Japan there is also great celebration on this day. Parades are now celebrated in 9 locations across Japan. The first parade was held in Tokyo and was organized by the INJ or what is known as The Irish Network Japan in 1992. Nowadays Parades and the other events that are hosted run for almost the entire month of March.

United States Parades and Celebrations

There are many parades that are hosted in the United States to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and the Irish culture. In 1762 the parade was started in New York City, in 1771 one began in Phildelphia, 1780 saw the beginnings in Morristown, Boston started one in 1804, soon followed by one in New Orleans in 1809, along came the Buffalo parade in 1811, and the Savannah celebrations in 1813. In 1833 Carbondale jumped into the action, with New Haven joining the fun in 1842. 1843 saw the start of a parade for Milwaukee, and Chicago. Saint Paul created their own celebrations in 1852, with Scranton deciding to take on the challenge in 1862. Cleveland expanded and wanted to let their residents have some fun so set up their own parade in the year 1867. A couple years later in 1869, Pittsburgh set up their own parade as well. Along with Kasas City in 1873, Butte in 1882 and then Rolla in 1909.

Over the years many other states and cities have made their own festivals and events to encourage those who want to celebrate their Irish traditions and be thankful for their roots and heritage to partake in the fun.

Teaching Your Children the Importance of Pride

It doesn't matter in which part of the world you are living. If you come from an Irish background and are proud of your heritage, St. Patrick's Day is THE day to get out there and just have a ball. If you would like to raise your children to be proud of their culture, there are many little gifts, books and accessories you can purchase to give them while explaining to them why you choose to celebrate the day.

If you would like to see what is my top choice for toys to give to your child to help them learn and appreciate their heritage, you can visit my blog here:


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    • ebookshack profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Bremner 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Susan. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you too! While they are still my team, I kind of lost faith in the dear old Leafs(especially since they keep getting rid of all my favorites)but maybe one they will surprise us.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent hub. Happy St. Patrick's Day and "GO LEAFS GO"!


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