Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated every year on March 17th. It commemorates Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Catholic feast day in the early seventeenth century, but through the years has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general, and nowadays is an excuse for Guinness consumption and the celebration of real (or imagined) Irish roots world-wide, and probably the most widely observed Saint’s day.
Saint Patrick’s Day is official a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. No much is know about Saint Patrick, but he was probably born in Roman Britain during the fourth century. At the age of sixteen, he supposedly was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. He escaped and studied to be a priest (probably in France). In 432, he was called back to Ireland, as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods was the use of the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. Although he was only one of many evangelists sent to Ireland by the church, he remains the most famous
Saint Patrick’s feast day, was informally celebrated by the Irish in Europe as early as the ninth century, but only became an official Catholic feast day in the early 1600s. In the 1990s the Irish government began a campaign to use Saint Patrick’s Day to showcase Ireland and its culture. The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on March 17th 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. Now, Saint Patricks’s day is celebrated almost everywhere in the world, but particularly in those countries with large Irish communities. However, even in Panama, you won’t be able to escape from the shamrocks, leprachauns and guinness on March 17th, there may not be a huge Irish community here, but the Irish themed pubs (which originated in the USA) have a presence and will certainly be encouraging everyone to become “green” if only for one day.