Saint Patrick’s Day: An Excuse to Discuss Christianity and Islam

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St Patrick Day in London in Trafalgar Square

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Saint Patrick’s Day
Kilbennan St. Benin's Church Window St. Patrick Detail 2010 09 16.jpg

Saint Patrick depicted in a stained glass window at Saint Benin’s Church, Ireland
Official name Saint Patrick’s Day
Also called Feast of Saint Patrick
Patrick’s Day
(Saint) Paddy’s Day
St Patty’s Day[1][2]
Lá Fheile Pádraig
Observed by Irish people and people of Irish descent,
Catholic Church (see calendar),Anglican Communion (seecalendars), Eastern Orthodox Church (see calendar), Lutheran Church (see calendar)
Type Ethnic, national, Christian
Significance Feast day of Saint Patrick, commemoration of the arrival ofChristianity in Ireland[3]
Celebrations Attending parades, attendingcéilithe, wearing shamrocks, wearing green, drinking Irish beer, drinking Irish whiskey
Observances Attending mass or service
Date 17 March
Next time 17 March 2014
Frequency annual

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (IrishLá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”) is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated annually on 17 March, the death date of the most commonly-recognised patron saint of IrelandSaint Patrick (c. AD 385–461).

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland),[4] the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland,[3]as well as celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.[5] Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.[6] Christians also attend church services,[5][7] and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.[5][6][8][9]

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland,[10] Northern Ireland,[11] Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world; especially in Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Saint Patrick

Main article: Saint Patrick

Much of what is known about St Patrick comes from the Declaration, which was allegedly written by Patrick himself. It is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-Britishfamily. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to theDeclaration, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland.[12]It says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he “found God”. TheDeclaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.

According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.

According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years envangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converted “thousands”. Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.

Celebration and traditions

Wearing of the green

Sydney Opera House St Patricks' Day

Sydney Opera House on St Patricks’ Day

On St Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”).

St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.[13][14] This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older. In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities.[15] The triple spiral symbol appears at many ancient megalithic sites in Ireland.

The colour green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s.[16] Green was adopted as the colour of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick,[17] an Irish fraternity founded in about 1750.[18] However, when the Order of St. Patrick—an Anglo-Irish chivalric order—was founded in 1783 it adopted blue as its colour. This led to blue being associated with St Patrick. In the 1790s, green became associated with Irish nationalism when it was used by the United Irishmen. This was a republican organization—led mostly by Protestants but with many Catholic members—who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew.[19]

Read further in Wikipedia

Categories: Catholicism, Catholics, CHRISTIANITY, Islam, Religion

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