A History of St. Patrick’s Day

in History, Holidays

St. Patrick’s Day is an exciting holiday in the Pacific Northwest. It is a fun time where we can dress up in green and celebrate like the Irish. With it coming up in the next few weeks I thought it would be interesting to find out where it all started and why we’re supposed to wear green.

Saint Patrick was a bishop and Christian missionary who traveled to Ireland in 1432 AD to convert the Irish to Christianity.

The Irish loved Saint Patrick so much that when he died on March 17th they deemed it a holy day in Ireland. However, it took a little while to establish this as a national holiday. Celebrations began in 1631, which was 12 centuries after he died. It started as day where people would feast on food and drink. Since it falls in the middle of lent, everyone took that as a cheat day to enjoy all of the things they gave up. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (46 before Easter) and ends on Easter Sunday, and is a time when Christians observe a period of fasting. St. Patrick’s Day became such a big drinking holiday because everyone took a break from fasting and had a party.

Northern Ireland

The celebration began to migrate toward the United States. The first American celebration happened in Boston in 1737and was followed less than 30 years later by the first parade in New York City.

As some may know, the divide between the Irish has been going on in history for centuries. Ireland was considered a part of the United Kingdom, however, some people wanted to be independent of the UK and so they formed the Irish Republican party.

There seems to always be fighting in Ireland because some people want to remain attached to the UK, while others want to break free. Currently Northern Ireland is considered part of the United Kingdom, while all other parts are the Irish Republic.

This is important to know because it is where the color green comes into play. It wasn’t until the Irish Rebellion in 1798 that the color green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Before this, the colors blue and red were used, however, people did not like colors associated with the British Army, so they decided to use the color green. This is why people associate the color green with Ireland.

The history of Ireland and Saint Patrick is extremely interesting and I recommend reading more about it and discussing with your children, especially if you have any Irish heritage in your background. Until then, I hope this blog helps you gain a further understanding of this unique day!

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