Tag Archive | history of Saint Patty’s Day

About Saint Patrick’s Day and the Flowers We Love

Saint Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17th each year, honors Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick was a Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland during the 5th century. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and is considered one of the country’s primary patron saints. According to legend, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates as a teenager and taken to Ireland as a slave. During his captivity, he found solace in Christianity and eventually escaped. He returned to Ireland later as a missionary, converting many Irish people to Christianity.

Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Initially, Saint Patrick’s Day was observed as a religious feast day by Irish Christians, commemorating Saint Patrick’s death on March 17th, believed to be in the year 461 AD. Over time, the day evolved into a more secular celebration of Irish culture and identity. In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day became a public holiday, marked by religious observances, parades, festivals, and feasting.

Irish immigrants brought Saint Patrick’s Day traditions to other countries, particularly the United States. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York City in 1762, organized by Irish soldiers serving in the British army. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world, not only by people of Irish descent but also by many others who enjoy the festive atmosphere, wearing green attire, attending parades, and participating in cultural events.

Symbols and Traditions:

  • Wearing Green: Wearing green clothing and accessories is a common tradition on Saint Patrick’s Day, symbolizing Ireland’s lush landscape (and also the “wearing of the green” as a nod to Irish nationalism).
  • Shamrock: The shamrock, a three-leaf clover, is associated with Saint Patrick and is said to have been used by him to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. It has become a symbol of the holiday.
  • Parades and Festivities: Parades featuring Irish music, dancing, floats, and marching bands are a prominent feature of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, particularly in countries with large Irish communities.
  • Traditional Foods and Drinks: Traditional Irish foods such as corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and Irish stout are often enjoyed on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Overall, Saint Patrick’s Day has evolved from a religious observance to a global celebration of Irish culture, identity, and heritage, uniting people of various backgrounds in a spirit of festivity and camaraderie.

The Flowers of Saint Patrick’s Day

While there isn’t a specific flower traditionally associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the same way that certain flowers are associated with holidays like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, there are several flowers commonly used in arrangements and decorations to celebrate the occasion. Here are a few options:

  1. Shamrock: While not a flower, the shamrock is perhaps the most iconic symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day. Its three-leafed form is said to have been used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity, and it has become closely associated with Irish culture and the holiday. Read more about the Shamrock on the Eden Florist Blog
  2. Green Flowers: Given that green is the predominant color associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, flowers with green hues are often chosen for arrangements. This could include green carnations, green roses, green hydrangeas, or green chrysanthemums.
  3. Bells of Ireland: With their tall, slender stems and pale green bell-shaped flowers, Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis) are often used in floral arrangements for Saint Patrick’s Day. They symbolize good luck and are reminiscent of the Irish landscape. Read more about Belles of Ireland on the Eden Florist Blog
  4. White Flowers: White flowers are also sometimes included in Saint Patrick’s Day arrangements to represent purity and spirituality. White lilies, white roses, or white daisies could be incorporated to complement the green theme.
  5. Spring Flowers: Saint Patrick’s Day falls in mid-March, which is the beginning of spring in many parts of the world. Spring flowers such as daffodils, tulips, and iris could be used to celebrate the arrival of the new season alongside the holiday.

While these flowers are commonly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, there are no strict rules, and individuals are free to choose any flowers that they feel represent the spirit of the holiday. Additionally, incorporating elements like ribbons or decorative accents in shades of green and gold can further enhance the festive atmosphere.

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History of Saint Patty’s Day

Bells of Ireland

Bells of Ireland

Saint Patrick’s feast day, as a kind of national day, was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In later times he become more and more widely known as the patron of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s feast day was finally placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick’s Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland.

In 1903, Saint Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. This was thanks to the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by Irish MP James O’Mara. O’Mara later introduced the law that required that pubs and bars be closed on 17 March after drinking got out of hand, a provision that was repealed in the 1970s. The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931 and was reviewed by the then Minister of Defense Desmond Fitzgerald. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday remains a religious observance in Ireland, for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.

In the mid-1990s the Irish government began a campaign to use Saint Patrick’s Day to showcase Ireland and its culture. The government set up a group called St. Patrick’s Festival, with the aim to:

— Offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebrations in the world and promote excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity.
— Provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent, (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations.
— Project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal, as we approach the new millennium.[14]

The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009’s five day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks.

In every year since 1991, March has been proclaimed Irish-American Heritage Month by the US Congress or President due to the date of St. Patrick’s Day. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated in America by Irish and non-Irish alike. It is one of the leading days for consumption of alcohol in the United States, and is typically one of the busiest days of the year for bars and restaurants. Many people, regardless of ethnic background, wear green clothing and items. Traditionally, those who are caught not wearing green are pinched affectionately.

Source: Wikipedia