A couple facts on the history of St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day is a day for everybody to celebrate Ireland’s rich cultural heritage and for many it’s an opportunity to celebrate their own connections to Ireland. There is said to be over 80 million people worldwide of Irish descent, making us one of the largest Diaspora of any nation. The Irish have reached all 4 corners of the globe leaving a trail of Irish Pubs and red hair for generations to come.
St. Patrick’s day is celebrated on the March 17th. The original colours of the festival was blue, adopting the colours from the Order of St. Patrick, the senior order of Chivalry for the Kingdom of Ireland. The colour blue was used up to and around the 1916 Rising as Ireland began to adopt the Shamrock as a symbol of Ireland. They started by wearing Shamrocks on their lapels and that turned into the tradition of wearing green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. While the colour green has become synonymous with Ireland and has become the nation’s colour, the St. Patrick’s Blue can still be seen on our Presidential flag.
Until the 20th century, St Patricks Day Parade was celebrated by the Irish Diaspora abroad more than it was celebrated back home in Ireland. It was an opportunity for the Irish population living abroad to make a statement at their displeasure at their standing in society. The first St. Patrick’s Day festival was originally held in Boston in 1737 and they even named their Hockey Team the St. Patricks (Later changed to the Boston Bruins). New York was a couple years behind and held their first parade in 1762. As it became more popular throughout the world, more towns at home and abroad began to organise their own parades to celebrate St. Patrick and the history of Ireland. Waterford became the first county in Ireland to organise a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1903. Although it was observed as a feast day by the Christians, it was not until Waterford born Francsiscan, Luke Wadding was appointed to the Congregation of the Breviary of Rome in the mid 17th century and included St. Patrick in the official Saint’s days.
You may find yourself getting pinched this St. Patrick’s Day if you don’t wear green. This comes from the myth that wearing green would make you invisible to leprechauns and that they would then pinch anyone not wearing green of St. Paddy’s Day. People would pinch each other in order to remind them to wear green on this festive holiday. There are many other myths surrounding Irish St. Patrick such as his walking stick turning back into a living tree in Aspatria, England. On his journey home to Ireland from his Parent’s home in Birdoswald, St. Patrick would stick his walking stick into the ground while evangelising. It is said he spent so much time there trying to convert the people to Christianity that his stick had sprouted roots and grew into a living tree.
There are many things to see and do in Cork this St. Patrick’s Day. There will be events taking place throughout the county so there will be no shortage of fun for all the family.