A city-storyteller guide to Saint Patrick’s day

Greeny Ireland

A green briefing by CAAC coordinator, Tamara Guirao.

Every March, 17th, Saint Patrick is remembered as the saint patron of Ireland. This celebration has reached a wide scale and many places become green at mid-March. It has been suggested that Patrick is the most well-known and celebrated all over the world. Shamrock, green clothes and a big pint of green beer are the typical tools to get in the mood and join the parades.

Who was Saint Patrick? Born in Britain, his village was attacked by the Irish and he was then kidnapped at 16, to serve an Irish master, keeping his cattle. Six years afterwards, says the legend, God sent him an angel to make him return home and then start a religious career in France. His call drove him again to Ireland, were he expanded Christianity, using the shamrock as a symbol for Trinity.

March 17th marks the anniversary of his death and became an official festivity in Ireland in 1903. In the mid-1990s the government of the Republic of Ireland 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 aims:

  • To offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world
  • To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity
  • To 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
  • To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal

The strategy has proved right with millions of people marking every year this holiday on their calendars and “feeling Irish” for a night.

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