St Patrick’s Day 2023: Everything you need to know
St Patrick’s Day: The first St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in 1600 in the then Spanish colony that is now St. Augustine, Florida.
St Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 every year to commemorate the passing of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. It is observed as a public holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and countries across the globe including the United States, Canada, and Australia with the celebrations marked by parades, music, dance, and the wearing of green attire.
Dying the Chicago river green:
In addition to these celebrations, a longstanding tradition to mark the day is to dye the Chicago River green. As per the report by CNN (article beyond paywall), the tradition of dying the river is believed to have been started in 1962 when the local plumbers poured a small amount of green dye into the river, turning the water into a bright green colour. Since then, it has become an annual ritual in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day.
The people who dye the river prefer environment friendly colours over chemical based colours. Their environment-friendly dye formula remains a closely kept secret, the report added.
The day commemorates the passing away of Saint Patrick, who was born in Britain and kidnapped and enslaved in Emerald Isle. Though he eventually escaped, he returned and advanced Christianity throughout the island. As per the report by USA Today, the saint was imprisoned in Ireland for around six years.
He has been honored in Ireland and other countries since the ninth or tenth century. He, however, had survived as a saint despite never having been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.
The first St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in 1600 in the then Spanish colony that is now St. Augustine, Florida. The first procession took place on March 17, 1601 and was noted in Spanish colonial archives in 1600.
St Patrick's legacy endured in the US, particularly in Irish populated areas. St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, is one of the most well-known churches in the US, was constructed "to proclaim the ascendance of religious freedom and tolerance", the report added.
Significance of green colour on St. Patrick's Day:
The colour green is strongly associated with St Patrick’s Day for several reasons. Ireland’s nickname is the ‘Emerald Isle’ because of its green landscape, and therefore, considered the national colour of Ireland. According to the report by USA Today, St Patrick used a green shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.
"The Irish Americans would wear the green as a reminder that they were nationalists first and foremost. The colors of the Irish flag are green, white and orange, the green symbolising Irish nationalism, the orange symbolising the Orangemen of the north and the white symbolizing peace", Brian Witt, the cultural exhibits coordinator for Milwaukee Irish Fest told USA Today.
St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manchester, New Hampshire, is said to be the biggest of its type in the state. It travels a 2.5-mile course. The procession, which will be held in 2023 on March 26 on Sunday, is organized by a small group of volunteers, the report added.