Hi Everyone. So the countdown to March 17 continues this week with a short history of St. Patrick’s Day. In a couple of weeks time, many of us will be donning our favorite St. Patrick’s Day sweater and joining in the many parades and festivities taking place around the world. So where did it all begin…..?
A Short History of St. Patrick’s Day
Who Was St. Patrick?
So first things first-St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish! He was born in Roman Britain and some claim he is Welsh, others that he was Scottish. While it is not possible to pinpoint the exact year of his birth, he was born circa 386 A.D. He was the son of Calphurnius, a deacon. His grandfather, Pontius, was also a clergyman.
When he was 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to the Tyrone area in the north of Ireland near Slemish mountain (pictured above). He spent six years here as a slave. While working under these harsh conditions as a shepherd, he found his faith. He managed to escape back to his homeland but his call to to spread his Christian faith among the Irish brought him back to Ireland. After entering the priesthood in France he returned to Ireland to begin his life as a christian missionary.
When Is St.Patrick’s Day?
Ok so we all know it’s March 17, but why? Well this is the date of St. Patrick’s death. It is believed he died on this day 461 AD giving birth to St. Patrick’s Day! His remains were brought to the Hill of Down, the site of this beautiful cathedral in county Down.
It was a Franciscan friar named Luke Wadding (1588-1657) who was responsible for St. Patrick’s Day becoming an annual feast day. This scholar and historian from Waterford tirelessly campaigned for St Patrick’s Day to become a holy day of obligation. He is commemorated in his native city with a statue at the French Church, Greyfriars.
When Was The First Parade?
So the first St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t actually take place in Ireland! It was the Irish diaspora in the US who first started St. Patrick’s Day parades. The first parade took place in Boston in 1737. New York held the first official parade in 1766.
In Ireland the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in Waterford in 1903 while Dublin had its first parade in 1931. Today, Dublin hosts its very own 5 day long St. Patrick’s Day festival with in the region of half a million people descending on the city for the parade on March 17.
The color first associated with St.Patrick’s Day was actually blue but that changed in the 17th century. The green of the Irish flag became the color of patriotism and as Irish nationalism grew, so did the wearing of the green. There were also the associations with the Emerald Isle, so called because of the color of our rich green landscape as well as the green of Ireland’s favorite symbol of good fortune, the Shamrock.
There’s also the danger of being pinched by a leprechaun! The tale goes that wearing green makes you invisible to these mischievous creatures and keeps you safe from their pinching. The tradition of pinching people who are not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day originated in the U.S. It still continues this day!
Well you’ve come to the right place! Why not treat yourself or a loved one to the perfect St. Patrick’s Day sweater like the Ardara Cable sweater (pictured above). Shop our full collection below-full to bursting with St. Patrick’s Day gift ideas!
Until next week….
Slán go fóill!