Taking place annually on 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Ireland and Irish culture.
Who was St. Patrick?
Early medieval tradition credited St. Patrick as being the first bishop of Armagh and cited him as the founder of Christianity within Ireland.
Patrick was born in Britain in approximately 400 A.D. He was a nobleman and despite being born into a religious family, he spent his early life an atheist. Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish pirates and it was during this time of enslavement, where he was tasked with looking after animals, that he rediscovered his faith. Although he returned to Britain upon escaping from Ireland, he would return soon after as a missionary.
St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 as this is the supposed day of his death. In addition to being a holy day of obligation in the dioceses of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is now also a celebration of Ireland itself and there are a variety of St Patricks Day gifts available, a selection of which can be viewed here https://www.shamrockgift.com/st-patricks-day.
What happens to the Chicago River every St. Patrick’s Day?
As this National Geographic article showcases, St. Patrick’s Day is a truly global celebration. Interestingly, on every St. Patrick’s Day the usually murky waters of the Chicago River are dyed bright green by the Rowan and Butler family clans.
A six-person boat crew, manned solely by relations of either Tom Rowan or Mike Butler, head out on to the river each year and shake an orange powder into the water from a sifter. The recipe of the orange powder is strictly top secret and the river water keeps its bright green hue for approximately five hours before returning to normal.
What is the history behind St. Patrick’s Day parades?
Although beginning as a religious holiday in Ireland, Irish Americans have transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a much more celebratory affair.
The earliest celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day in America were marked with banquets in the elite clubs of Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Charleston, and Savannah. The first parade was held in New York in 1762 and were commonplace by the mid-19th century. St. Patrick’s Day parades have become a celebration of the Irish-American identity, allowing Irish Americans to celebrate their ancestry and make a powerful statement.