st patrick day wigs hair:St Patrick’s Day, while not a legal holiday in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and observed throughout the country as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, religious observances, numerous parades, and copious consumption of alcohol. The holiday has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century.
Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of the Irish diaspora, particularly those that developed in North America. In recent years, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations for having become too commercialised and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish.
A St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin
A St Patrick’s Day religious procession in Downpatrick, where Saint Patrick is said to be buried
Saint Patrick’s feast day, as a kind of national day, was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In later times, he became more and more widely seen as the patron of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s feast day was finally placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick’s Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. It is also a feast day in the Church of Ireland, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church calendar avoids the observance of saints’ feasts during certain solemnities, moving the saint’s day to a time outside those periods. St Patrick’s Day is occasionally affected by this requirement, when 17 March falls during Holy Week. This happened in 1940, when Saint Patrick’s Day was observed on 3 April to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday, and again in 2008, where it was officially observed on 14 March. St Patrick’s Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160. However, the popular festivities may still be held on 17 March or on a weekend near to the feast day.
In 1903, St Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. This was thanks to the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by Irish Member of Parliament James O’Mara. O’Mara later introduced the law which required that public houses be shut on 17 March after drinking got out of hand, a provision that was repealed in the 1970s.
The first St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. The week of St Patrick’s Day 1903 had been declared Irish Language Week by the Gaelic League and in Waterford they opted to have a procession on Sunday 15 March. The procession comprised the Mayor and members of Waterford Corporation, the Trades Hall, the various trade unions and bands who included the ‘Barrack St Band’ and the ‘Thomas Francis Meagher Band’. The parade began at the premises of the Gaelic League in George’s St and finished in the Peoples Park, where the public were addressed by the Mayor and other dignitaries. On Tuesday 17 March, most Waterford businesses—including public houses—were closed and marching bands paraded like they had two days previously. The Waterford Trades Hall had been emphatic that the National Holiday be observed.
On St Patrick’s Day 1916, the Irish Volunteers – an Irish nationalist paramilitary organisation – held parades throughout Ireland. The authorities recorded 38 St Patrick’s Day parades, involving 6,000 marchers, almost half of whom were said to be armed. The following month, the Irish Volunteers launched the Easter Rising against British rule. This marked the beginning of the Irish revolutionary period and led to the Irish War of Independence and Civil War. During this time, St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland were muted, although the day was sometimes chosen to hold large political rallies. The celebrations remained low-key after the creation of the Irish Free State; the only state-organized observance was a military procession and trooping of the colours, and an Irish-language mass attended by government ministers. In 1927, the Irish Free State government banned the selling of alcohol on St Patrick’s Day, although it remained legal in Northern Ireland. The ban was not repealed until 1961.
The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.
In Northern Ireland, the celebration of St Patrick’s Day was affected by sectarian divisions. A majority of the population were Protestant Ulster unionists who saw themselves as British, while a substantial minority were Catholic Irish nationalists who saw themselves as Irish. Although it was a public holiday, Northern Ireland’s unionist government did not officially observe St Patrick’s Day. During the conflict known as the Troubles (late 1960s–late 1990s), public St Patrick’s Day celebrations were rare and tended to be associated with the Catholic community. In 1976, loyalists detonated a car bomb outside a pub crowded with Catholics celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Dungannon; four civilians were killed and many injured. However, some Protestant unionists attempted to ‘re-claim’ the festival, and in 1985 the Orange Order held its own St Patrick’s Day parade. Since the end of the conflict in 1998 there have been cross-community St Patrick’s Day parades in towns throughout Northern Ireland, which have attracted thousands of spectators.
In the mid-1990s the government of the Republic of Ireland began a campaign to use St Patrick’s Day to showcase Ireland and its culture. The government set up a group called St Patrick’s Festival, with the aims:
To offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world
To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity
To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations
To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal.
The first St Patrick’s Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009’s five-day festival saw almost 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks. Skyfest forms the centrepiece of the festival.
The topic of the 2004 St Patrick’s Symposium was “Talking Irish”, during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success, and the future were discussed. Since 1996, there has been a greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of “Irishness” rather than an identity based around traditional religious or ethnic allegiance. The week around St Patrick’s Day usually involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish Language Week”).
Christian leaders in Ireland have expressed concern about the secularisation of St Patrick’s Day. In The Word magazine’s March 2007 issue, Fr Vincent Twomey wrote, “It is time to reclaim St Patrick’s Day as a church festival”. He questioned the need for “mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry” and concluded that “it is time to bring the piety and the fun together”.
As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford.
The biggest celebrations outside the cities are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is said to be buried. The shortest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world takes place in Dripsey, County Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village’s two pubs.
St Patrick’s Day parade in London usually takes place at Trafalgar Square.
St. Patrick’s Day festival Coatbridge is celebrated in the Irish descent majority town of Coatbridge in Scotland.
In Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army consisting mostly of soldiers from Ireland. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock on this day, flown in from Ireland.
Christian denominations in Great Britain observing his feast day include The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.
Horse racing at the Cheltenham Festival attracts large numbers of Irish people, both residents of Britain and many who travel from Ireland, and usually coincides with St Patrick’s Day.
Birmingham holds the largest St Patrick’s Day parade in Britain with a city centre parade over a two-mile (3 km) route through the city centre. The organisers describe it as the third biggest parade in the world after Dublin and New York.
London, since 2002, has had an annual St Patrick’s Day parade which takes place on weekends around the 17th, usually in Trafalgar Square. In 2008 the water in the Trafalgar Square fountains was dyed green.
Liverpool has the highest proportion of residents with Irish ancestry of any English city. This has led to a long-standing celebration on St Patrick’s Day in terms of music, cultural events and the parade.
Manchester hosts a two-week Irish festival in the weeks prior to St Patrick’s Day. The festival includes an Irish Market based at the city’s town hall which flies the Irish tricolour opposite the Union Flag, a large parade as well as a large number of cultural and learning events throughout the two-week period.
The Scottish town of Coatbridge, where the majority of the town’s population are of Irish descent, also has a Saint Patrick’s Day Festival which includes celebrations and parades in the town centre.
Glasgow has a considerably large Irish population; due, for the most part, to the Irish immigration during the 19th century. This immigration was the main cause in raising the population of Glasgow by over 100,000 people. Due to this large Irish population, there are many Irish-themed pubs and Irish interest groups who hold yearly celebrations on St Patrick’s day in Glasgow. Glasgow has held a yearly St Patrick’s Day parade and festival since 2007.
Main article: Saint Patrick’s Day in the United States
St Patrick’s Day, while not a legal holiday in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and observed throughout the country as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, religious observances, numerous parades, and copious consumption of alcohol. The holiday has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century.
Montreal hosts one of the longest-running and largest St Patrick’s Day parades in North America.
One of the longest-running and largest St Patrick’s Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, whose city flag includes a shamrock in its lower-right quadrant. The yearly celebration has been organised by the United Irish Societies of Montreal since 1929. The parade has been held yearly without interruption since 1824. St Patrick’s Day itself, however, has been celebrated in Montreal since as far back as 1759 by Irish soldiers in the Montreal Garrison following the British conquest of New France.
In Manitoba, the Irish Association of Manitoba runs a yearly three-day festival of music and culture based around St Patrick’s Day.
In 2004, the CelticFest Vancouver Society organised its first yearly festival in downtown Vancouver to celebrate the Celtic Nations and their cultures. This event, which includes a parade, occurs each year during the weekend nearest St Patrick’s Day.
In Quebec City, there was a parade from 1837 to 1926. The Quebec City St-Patrick Parade returned in 2010 after more than 84 years. For the occasion, a portion of the New York Police Department Pipes and Drums were present as special guests.
There has been a parade held in Toronto since at least 1863. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys. In 1999, when the Maple Leafs played on St Patrick’s Day, they wore green St Patrick’s retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city’s downtown on the Sunday before 17 March which attracts over 100,000 spectators.
Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick’s Day a national holiday.
In March 2009, the Calgary Tower changed its top exterior lights to new green CFL bulbs just in time for St Patrick’s Day. Part of an environmental non-profit organisation’s campaign (Project Porchlight), the green represented environmental concerns. Approximately 210 lights were changed in time for Saint Patrick’s Day, and resembled a Leprechaun’s hat. After a week, white CFLs took their place. The change was estimated to save the Calgary Tower some $12,000 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 104 tonnes.
Celebrations in Buenos Aires centre on Reconquista street.
In Buenos Aires, a party is held in the downtown street of Reconquista, where there are several Irish pubs; in 2006, there were 50,000 people in this street and the pubs nearby. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish community, the fifth largest in the world outside Ireland, take part in the organisation of the parties.
The tiny island of Montserrat is known as the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean” because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis. Montserrat is one of three places where St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday, along with Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador. The holiday in Montserrat also commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on 17 March 1768.
While Saint Patrick’s Day in Switzerland is commonly celebrated on 17 March with festivities similar to those in neighbouring central European countries, it is not unusual for Swiss students to organise celebrations in their own living spaces on St Patrick’s Eve. Most popular are usually those in Zurich’s Kreis 4. Traditionally, guests also contribute with beverages and dress in green.
Moscow hosts an annual Saint Patrick’s Day festival.
The first St Patrick’s Day parade took place in Russia in 1992. Since 1999, there has been a yearly “Saint Patrick’s Day” festival in Moscow and other Russian cities. The official part of the Moscow parade is a military-style parade and is held in collaboration with the Moscow government and the Irish embassy in Moscow. The unofficial parade is held by volunteers and resembles a carnival. In 2014, Moscow Irish Week was celebrated from 12 to 23 March, which includes St Patrick’s Day on 17 March. Over 70 events celebrating Irish culture in Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Voronezh, and Volgograd were sponsored by the Irish Embassy, the Moscow City Government, and other organisations.
St Patrick’s Parades are now held in many locations across Japan. The first parade, in Tokyo, was organised by The Irish Network Japan (INJ) in 1992.
The Irish Association of Korea has celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day since 1976 in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. The place of the parade and festival has been moved from Itaewon and Daehangno to Cheonggyecheon.
In Malaysia, the St Patrick’s Society of Selangor, founded in 1925, organises a yearly St Patrick’s Ball, described as the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebration in Asia. Guinness Anchor Berhad also organises 36 parties across the country in places like the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Bahru, Malacca, Ipoh, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Kuching.
International Space Station
Chris Hadfield wearing green in the International Space Station on St Patrick’s Day, 2013
Astronauts on board the International Space Station have celebrated the festival in different ways. Irish-American Catherine Coleman played a hundred-year-old flute belonging to Matt Molloy and a tin whistle belonging to Paddy Moloney, both members of the Irish music group The Chieftains, while floating weightless in the space station on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2011. Her performance was later included in a track called “The Chieftains in Orbit” on the group’s album, Voice of Ages.
Chris Hadfield took photographs of Ireland from earth orbit, and a picture of himself wearing green clothing in the space station, and posted them online on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2013. He also posted online a recording of himself singing “Danny Boy” in space.
In recent decades, St Patrick’s Day celebrations have been criticised, particularly for their association with public drunkenness and disorder. Some argue that the festivities have become too commercialised and tacky, and have strayed from their original purpose of honouring St Patrick and Irish heritage. Journalist Niall O’Dowd has criticised recent attempts to recast St Patrick’s Day as a celebration of multiculturalism rather than a celebration of Irishness.
St Patrick’s Day celebrations have also been criticised for fostering demeaning stereotypes of Ireland and Irish people. An example is the wearing of ‘leprechaun outfits’, which are based on derogatory 19th century caricatures of the Irish. In the run up to St Patrick’s Day 2014, the Ancient Order of Hibernians successfully campaigned to stop major American retailers from selling novelty merchandise that promoted negative Irish stereotypes.
Some have described St Patrick’s Day celebrations outside Ireland as displays of “Plastic Paddyness”; where foreigners appropriate and misrepresent Irish culture, claim Irish identity, and enact Irish stereotypes.
LGBT groups were banned from marching in St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City and Boston, see Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston. In New York City, the ban was lifted in 2014, but LGBT groups still find that barriers to participation exist. In Boston, the ban on LGBT group participation was lifted in 2015.
The Saint Patrick’s Day Test is an international rugby league tournament that is played between the US and Ireland. The competition was first started in 1995 with Ireland winning the first two tests with the US winning the last 4 in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. The game is usually held on or around 17 March to coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day.
Traditionally the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship and All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship are held on Saint Patrick’s Day in Croke Park, Dublin. The Interprovincial Championship was previously held on 17 March but this was switched to games being played in Autumn.
The Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup, Munster Schools Rugby Senior Cup and Ulster Schools Senior Cup are held on Saint Patrick’s Day. The Connacht Schools Rugby Senior Cup is held on the weekend before Saint Patrick’s Day.
The major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada that play during March often wear special third jerseys to acknowledge the holiday. Examples include the Buffalo Sabres (who have worn special Irish-themed practice jerseys), Toronto Maple Leafs (who wear Toronto St. Patricks throwbacks), New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, and most Major League Baseball teams. The New Jersey Devils have worn their green-and-red throwback jerseys on or around Saint Patrick’s Day in recent years.