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St. Patrick’s Day is 17 March.
St. Patrick’s or the feast of Saint Patrick’s Day is (almost) always on 17 March. It may occasionally be moved to avoid it falling during Holy Week.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all around the world in honour of one of Ireland’s most prominent patron saints. It is said that St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain in 493, and captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. Years later, when he returned to his family, he entered the church like his father and grandfather before him.
When he did return to Ireland later as a missionary, he is said to have rid the country of snakes. But seeing as there weren’t any native snake species in Ireland at that time, this legend is more likely to be an allegory for him banishing the druids or pagan "snake worshippers" from the island.
A thousand years later, a Franciscan scholar by the name of Luke Wadding ensured that the anniversary of St. Patrick’s birth became a national celebration. In modern times, St. Patrick’s Day has become an international celebration of everything Irish enjoyed by people around the world.
While St. Paddy’s Day may be celebrated by wearing anything green, a festive parade, raising a pint of Guinness and reading James Joyce, there is also a more traditional side to the festival. Up until the 18th century, St. Partick’s Day was only really celebrated in Ireland, as a sombre religious occasion.
Why green? It’s in the tricolour (the Irish flag), it's the colour of the Shamrock (Ireland's national flower), and it's also the colour most associated with spring, which starts just a few days later. But more than this, what colour could better represent the luscious landscapes of the Emerald Isle?
As if that question needs an answer! Of course, if you’re drinking booze, St. Patrick's Day has become synonymous with Guinness, but you could also go for a Murphy's Irish stout, an Irish Coffee, Green Bloody Mary or Irish whiskies like Paddy's, Jameson's or Bushmills.
While you could of course just dye anything green, Saint Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to discover some traditional Irish dishes on 17 March. So if you’re looking for dinner inspiration tonight, you could try our recipes for beef and stout stew, Dublin Coddle or Irish potato griddle cakes.
Just be sure to leave room for a large slice of Chocolate & Guinness cake and if you’re cooking for children, there’s a variation using cola. But if those typical Irish dinners aren’t what you’re looking for this St. Paddy’s Day, check out the rest of our delicious higher-welfare recipes.