What is St Patrick's Day?
Held on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day is Ireland’s national holiday, commemorating the most renowned of Ireland’s patron saints. Though always an important figure in Irish culture and communities, the importance of St Patrick was actually cemented in the 17th century.
The modern holiday actually has its roots in the massive Irish emigration of the 19th century linked to the Great Hunger (also called the Irish Famine), the preference for sheep over tenants, the poor soil, rural communities, and harsh conditions. Emigration was strong in America, Canada and Australia, where they new arrivals tended to stick together in Irish communities, bringing their own culture and tradition. Irish tradition melded with American culture. Over time, St Patrick’s Day went from a somber, religious affair (as it was in Ireland), to a great celebration of Irish pride. Eventually, this version of the holiday gained fame worldwide.