When is St Patrick’s Day? History, Traditions, and Trivia

When and Why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is a celebration in memory of the death of the Irish saint St Patrick. This day is celebrated on the 17th of March every year. St Patrick’s Day in 2018 fell on 17th March which was a Saturday. Saint Patrick’s Day started as a feast, a religious one but has now turned into something bigger. People all over the world celebrate the culture of Ireland with dance, music, parades and not to forget splurges of the colour green.

Its history goes like this: Saint Patrick was actually British who was captured and brought to Ireland though many years later he came back to Ireland on his own and became a Christian missionary. He is considered to be the ‘Patron Saint of Ireland’.


According to legend, Saint Patrick used the Shamrock as a symbol to explain the Holy Trinity the three leaves being The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit and ever since then Shamrock has become a tradition.

America is one of the biggest celebrators of the festival as, after the Great potato famine, many Irish immigrants moved to the US and settled in different countries there. Today the day is celebrated all over the world with the most massive celebration taking place in its roots which is Dublin.

People celebrate the day by wearing green coloured clothes, dying their rivers green, restaurants serve Irish food and beer and people take to streets cherishing the Irish culture.

When is St Patrick’s Day 2018, 2019, 2020?

The following are the days on which 17th March has fallen and will fall in the future:

YearSt. Patrick’s Day
2017Friday, 17 March
2018Saturday, 17 March
2019Sunday, 17 March
2020Tuesday, 17 March

This day is an official public holiday in Ireland and also many states in Canada. America is one of the biggest celebrators of this festival having been filled with Irish immigrants.

History of St Patrick’s Day

Who was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick was born in Britain and is not Irish by birth. When he was sixteen, Saint Patrick was captured by some Irish raiders and was imprisoned for almost six years. Later, Saint Patrick converted himself into a Christian and came back to Ireland to become a priest and spent his entire life as a missionary there.

Saint Patrick died on the 17th of March 461 and was forgotten by the world. But as history always finds its way back, many centuries later he was anointed as the ‘Patron Saint of Ireland’.

The Story behind the symbol of Shamrock

As a Christian missionary, St Patrick is said to have used the Shamrock and its three leaves to explain to the people about the holy trinity which is ‘The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit’.

As the story spread throughout the country, by the 18th century all the people of Ireland started the tradition of wearing the symbol of Shamrock on their clothing to show the importance of their culture and pride.

But the Shamrock does not really exist it is referred to any three-leaved plant that we may find like the Wood Sorrel or the clover.

How did Parades on Saint Patrick’s Day start?

The parades held on Saint Patrick’s Day was not always a way to celebrate the festival. During the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine spread all over Ireland, many Irish people migrated to the United States to save themselves.

The Irish people spread their culture throughout the countries they settled in, and the very first St Patrick parade took place in New York on 17 March 1762.

Irish soldiers who were serving in the British army marched through the Streets of New York all the way to a Tavern. Today, this parade is the longest parade ever and has millions of people both marching in it with their Irish music and Green clothes.

Irish immigrants formed small groups and ‘societies aid’ each of them hosted a parade separately, but in the year 1848, many of them came together and formed what is one of the oldest and largest parades held on St Patrick’s Day.

Symbols related to St Patrick’s Day

The Colour Green

Wearing the colour green on St Patrick’s Day is an integral part of the festival and became famous with the introduction of the Green Shamrock


According to Irish culture and folktales, the Leprechaun was a very naughty and mischievous fairy. When a human caught it (which was very hard), he granted them three wishes to be let free.

Irish people dress up in Green wearing hats like the Leprechauns. The Leprechaun themed clothing is a famous tradition on St Patrick’s Day.


The Celtic Knot

The Celtic knot has long been in the culture of Ireland and is a symbol that is engraved in every grave and architecture making it another significant symbol on St Patrick’s Day

Snakes and Serpents

According to legend, Saint Patrick drove away all the snakes away from Ireland cleansing the country of the deadly creatures

Famous Irish Food that you will find every restaurant serving on Saint Patrick’s Day

  • Irish potato soup
  • Irish brown bread
  • Irish stew
  • Cabbage and Corned Beef
  • The Irish chocolate and cream mousse cake

Traditions of St Patrick’s Day

  1. Since 1962, Chicago releases many pounds of Green vegetable dye into the Chicago River on St Patrick’s Day making the river green
  2. Parades are one of the most famous traditions
  3. People take to streets in their green attires and bagpipes cherishing Ireland’s musical culture
  4. Christian people visit churches with their families
  5. Drinking Irish beer has become a very significant tradition after the ban was lifted
  6. Wearing Leprechaun themed clothes especially the tall hats

Facts related to St Patrick’s Day

  1. Until 1970, Pubs and drinking places were to be closed on St Patrick’s Day
  2. One of the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebration takes place in Dublin, Ireland where people celebrate the day lavishly hosting parades, concerts, fireworks and theatre
  3. The colour green is worn because of the Shamrock when in reality the colour of Saint Patrick’s was Blue
  4. Saint Patrick was not Irish but a Roman- British
  5. Dublin is the best place to be during the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration

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