In many cities around the world, the Lá 'le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig feast takes place where special parades and concerts are held and the streets turn green. Of course, we are talking about St. Patrick’s Day - the Irish national and religious holiday.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated each year on March 17, which commemorates the day of the Saint’s death. Saint Patrick is the patron of Ireland and is one of the most recognized Saints in the world. Saint Patrick became famous for his pastoral activity and variety of miracles.
There are many legends and stories surrounding Saint Patrick. One of them says, that at age 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and transported to Ireland, where, as a slave, he worked grazing sheep. According to the legend, during that period he was inspired by God and through his intercession, Saint Patrick escaped from the island and consecutively came back there with the mission to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. Moreover, it is said that Saint Patrick drove out the snakes from the island, and in fact there are no snakes in Ireland. Another story is associated with a shamrock. Supposedly, he used this plant to explain the dogma of the Trinity to the first Irish Christians.The shamrock is the main symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.
One of the traditions of this holiday is drinking whiskey from Saint Patrick’s pitcher. Another well-known beverage served is green beer, which does not come directly from Ireland but fits well with the character of the celebration. The biggest symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is the color green. Green is the national color of Ireland, referring to the grassy landscape of the island and of the shamrock. At all the festivities organized during St. Patrick’s Day, the dominating color is green.
Ireland was never conquered by the Romans, that is why the Celtic culture survived there a long time, as well as in the northern areas of Scotland. Celts had a dominant influence on the language, geographical names and cities in Ireland. Celts derived their own language, called Goidelic, which evolved and spread throughout the island. Progressively the language took the form of today’s Irish Gaelic. At this point, we should look back at the etymology of the names of the different areas of the island. So, Scotland (Scotia) is derived from the Gaelic language and previously referred to the lands, that today we know as Ireland. The word Scoti means pirate, someone who invades the settlement, robs them and takes slaves. Due to the tribes from the "green island" having attacked the main continent, today's Ireland (Eire) was called Scotia, what is translated into "Land of Pirates". Over the course of time, the tribes ("pirates") moved to neighboring islands, where they founded the “new” Scotia, so the island of Ireland reverted back to its original name, Eire. Based on this information, the story about the kidnapping of Saint Patrick becomes more credible.
Saint Patrick’s Day is not only celebrated in Ireland but in many countries around the World including New York, Tokyo and Sydney. In the United States, this celebration dates back to the eighteenth century when the Charitable Irish Society in Boston organized the first parade. Increasingly popular it is backlight important building in green - The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, the Triumphal Arch, the Eiffel Tower or London Eye. In other countries, the feast is primarily related to serving the "green" beer and demonstrations of Irish dance and music.
And you, do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?