Saint Patrick's Day: 17 March
Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. 385 – c. 461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th Century.
Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (for provincial government employees) and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated in the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, especially amongst Irish diaspora. Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.
Saint Patrick was a Fifth-Century Romano-British Christian missionary and Bishop in Ireland. Much of what is known about Saint Patrick comes from the Declaration, which was allegedly written by Patrick himself. It is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the Fourth Century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to the Declaration, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. It says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time, he found God. The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest. By the time of his death on 17 March 461, he had established monasteries, churches and schools.
On Saint Patrick's Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. Throughout the centuries, the colour green and its association with St Patrick's Day grew. The St Patrick's Day tradition was popularised by Irish immigrants in the United States, who believed that wearing green made them invisible to leprechauns, the classic fairy creatures who pinch anyone they can see.
From all of us at Fire and Rescue International, we wish you a very happy St Patrick’s Day!
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