St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

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  • Author: MyVillage

St. Patrick's Day



Feature

March 17

It's incredible to think that St Patrick's Day - a celebration of the patron saint of a country populated by less than 6 million people - must be one of the most wide spread festivals of its kind. All across the UK celebrations will be taking place on March 17 in honour of the man who brought Christianity to Ireland.

St Patrick's Day dates back to AD461, the year of the Saint's death, however the first parades took place in the United States in 1762 and we followed in their footsteps, making St Patrick's Day a day of celebration on both sides of the Atlantic. The traditional Christian festival (which, quite incredibly, saw pubs closed all day on March 17th), at this time became a celebration of being Irish, a show of strength for Irish people outside of their country - particularly in America where they were oppressed and ridiculed - and a particular demonstration of Irish partriotism.

This year, as ever, people (Irish or otherwise) will be coming together for parades, festivities and, of course, the inevitable drinking which is always at the centre of St Patrick's Day.

Many parades took place last weekend, with London and Birmingham holding huge events and parades. Thousands turned up in London on Sunday to gaze rapturously at the green Trafalgar Square fountains, sway cheerfully to The Hothouse Flowers, cheer the parade and of course, guzzle Guinness. A record 80,000 turned up in Brum to enjoy the city's 11th annual St Patrick's Day parade, which included hundreds of Irish dancers jigging about on floats.

Ireland itself tends to have a St Patrick's week (something a leading Irish politician, Green Party leader Trevor Sargent seems to be a bit peed with; "People will be bemused that everyone else seems to have a St Patrick's Day, but the Dail has given itself a St Patrick's week" so he said to BBC News). Irish politics aside, there is no mistake that Ireland is the best place to celebrate their Patron Saint, although it appears to be the sworn vow of every Irish man or woman (or plastic Paddy amongst us) to turn wherever we live into Ireland, if just for a short while.

So March 17 is the actual day and now the official Parades are over - what do you do? You really need me to say? You find a lovely pub that serves Guinness the way it should do, and enjoy a pint (or 3) from the home country. Toast Ireland, toast the ingenuity of the people from that fair Isle and enjoy being a welcome gatecrasher to a country's celebrations.

Guinness Facts

* In Dublin in the 1800s ale was drunk instead of poorly sanitised water.

* Doctors once prescribed Guinness as a cure for debility, anaemia and to help patients through their convalescence.

* Guinness used to be recommended to nursing mothers.


MyVillage, 19th October

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