St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day commemorates
Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints
of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora
, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.
St. Patrick's Day was already being celebrated by the Irish in the ninth and tenth centuries. In the early 17th century, it was made an official feast day, and has gradually become a secular
celebration of Irish culture in general.
Green is the colour which has been associated with St. Patrick. Therefore, it has been common to wear green. 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. The wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous
feature of the day.
Further main ways of celebrating and observing St. Patrick's Day are attending parades, drinking Irish beer and Irish whiskey and attending mass or service. Many cities in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals.