The History of the Irish


Photo by Phong Nguyen from Pexels

Written by Emily Thompson, Features Editor

Many people are aware of the festivities that take place each year on March 17, a.k.a. St. Patrick’s Day, but many do not understand the historical significance of this holiday. Who is Saint Patrick? St. Patrick was a missionary in Ireland and became an adored figure for Irish Catholics as the person who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle. Patrick has never officially been canonized by a Pope which is when someone passes away and is declared as a saint. Although he is not officially a saint, the Catholic church still celebrates him as a saint and is included on the list of Saints.
St. Patrick’s day may be one of the most iconic holidays ever. This being said, in the 1600s the holiday was officially placed on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar, meaning every year on this day Catholics are obligated to participate in mass. Also, in the 1700s, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated predominantly in Ireland where it was a somber religious occasion mainly spent in prayer. However, in today’s time, people are celebrating with parades, bright vivid colors, and might even be breaking some of the ten commandments that were the foundation of this holiday.
How did the calmest and probably one of the most respectable holidays take a hard left turn? Well, it was in New York City that the first parade took place in 1762. This happened when Irish soldiers, who were serving with the English military, marched through Manhattan to a local tavern. America took advantage of another day to celebrate with friends and family and Ireland was soon to follow. Ireland truly began to promote St. Patrick’s day in 1995 when the Irish Government realized the potential tourism benefits of celebrating the day. The government also took this as an opportunity to sell its culture and sights to the rest of the world
People around the world are familiar with this very highly celebrated holiday. People who are of Irish descent might be more acquainted with the real origins of this special day. Others might be more familiar with the new and more Americanized St. Patrick’s day. Either way, St. Patrick’s day has been around for about five centuries and everyone around the world can come together and celebrate this day in unity.


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