Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 N725, Ireland
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Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday celebrated on March 17 each year. It commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, a Christian missionary who converted the Irish people to Christianity 1,500 years ago.
The patron saint of the country and national apostle of Ireland, Saint Patrick (real name Maewyn Succat) would probably have died on March 17, 461. This Christian saint, founder of Irish Christianity, has generated many legends, stories and accounts. Born in Roman Britain (former Great Britain), he would have been kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16 to work as a shepherd before managing to escape and return to Britain. Then he would have undergone religious training in order to help the Christian populations already settled in Ireland and to evangelize the pagan populations who were in the majority at the time.
Saint Patrick’s Day coincides with Lent, a period of fasting, celebration and devotion to God. It was recognized by the Christian Church at the beginning of the seventeenth century although the figure of Saint Patrick was never canonized by the Catholic Church. Saint Patrick’s Day is nevertheless celebrated by the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches in Ireland.
This popular festival is not only honoured in Dublin but also throughout the country and the world. The first major gathering in honour of Saint Patrick was held in Boston in 1737 and the first parade in 1762 (by Irish soldiers serving in the British Army) was held in New York. Later, this parade was an opportunity for Irish Catholics, who arrived in large numbers in the United States in the mid-19th century, to speak out against the stereotypes, discrimination and racial prejudice of the Protestant majority.
The programme of Saint Patrick’s Day always is plenty of festivities, including orange and green parades, bagpipe and drum bands, concerts, shows, open-air theatre performances, fireworks, Celtic music and dance, not forgetting a massive consumption of beer…
This great event is also a day to celebrate Irish history, culture and traditions (17 March has been proclaimed a public holiday in Ireland since 1903). Approximately 1 million people travel to Dublin especially to attend the Saint Patrick’s Day.