St Patrick’s Day 2022: When is St Patrick’s Day? Why do we celebrate it? Who is Saint Patrick?

The Irish have observed St Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years - so when is it and why is it celebrated?

For more than a century in England, the British Royals have traditionally presented bowls of shamrock to members of the Irish Guards in the British Army, a custom which was first introduced by Queen Alexandra in 1901. Since 2012, the shamrocks have been presented by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Before the 1960s, St Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated in Britain, however, after the commencement by the IRA’s bombing campaign on mainland Britain, the celebrations were prohibited, which resulted in people of Irish descent commemorating the day in private, wearing a sprig of shamrock.

When is St Patrick’s Day 2022?

Eddie Lavelle at the St Patricks Day celebrations on Millennium Square in Leeds. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)Eddie Lavelle at the St Patricks Day celebrations on Millennium Square in Leeds. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)
Eddie Lavelle at the St Patricks Day celebrations on Millennium Square in Leeds. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)

The day is celebrated on March 17 every year.

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It officially became a national holiday in Ireland in 1903 and it is also a bank holiday in Northern Ireland.

Why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

The first official Christian feast day took place in the early 17th century, although the exact date is unclear.

Some believe that the first St Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737, while others argue that the first parade took place in New York in 1762.

The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the introduction of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the Irish heritage and culture.

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The celebrations usually involve public parades and festivals, ceilis and dressing up in green attire and shamrocks.

Birmingham hosts the biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in Britain and it is considered the third biggest parade in the world after Dublin and New York.

It celebrates Saint Patrick, who died on March 17, c. 461, and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, as he allegedly described the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) by using shamrock leaves.

Who is Saint Patrick?

He was born in Roman Britain in the late fourth century and according to legend, in the fifth century, St Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland when he was 16 years old as a slave.

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Although he escaped, he returned in 432 ce to bring Christianity to Ireland and by the time of his death, he had already founded monasteries, churches, and schools.

He is thought to have banished snakes out of Ireland and used the leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.

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