St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

In recent years, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin, Ireland have extended to a week-long event called St. Patrick’s Festival, encompassing a spectacular fireworks display, open-air music, street theater and the traditional parade. Over one million people annually attend.

As a part of the celebration, many attendees wear shamrocks on their lapels or caps on St. Patrick’s Day, while children wear tricolored (green, white and orange) badges. Girls traditionally wear green ribbons in their hair.

A three-leafed shamrock clover was used by St. Patrick to represent the Christian trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Shamrocks were considered lucky by the Irish. The shamrock was used by the Irish as a mark of nationalism when the English invaded the Celtics. Leprechauns or Irish fairy people are also associated with St. Patrick’s festival. In Irish mythology, a leprechaun is a type of elf said to inhabit the island of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide by the Irish and those of Irish descent. A major parade takes place in Dublin and in most other Irish towns and villages. The three largest parades of recent years have been held in Dublin, New York and Birmingham, England. Parades also take place in other centers, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout the Americas.

In the United States, the Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. Established in Boston in 1737, it is essentially a time to put on a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button and parade through the streets singing “Danny Boy” in celebration of one’s real or imagined Irish ancestry.

The legends revolving around St. Patrick have been inseparably combined with the facts. The day invariably evokes the “I am Irish” sentiments along with celebrating St. Patrick for his services towards Ireland. Together they have helped us know much about the saint and the spirit behind celebration of the day.

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