By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, March 15 2021—
We are almost half-way through March, a sign that spring is almost here and so is St. Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated across the world on the 17th day of the third month of the year. The religious celebration marks the death of Saint Patrick during the fifth century.
Saint Patrick is considered “the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The spread of Christianity in Ireland is attributed to him, thereby the religious origins of the celebration.
The observance of this day has been present among the Irish around the world for over 1,000 years. In present day, the festivity has transitioned to be non-religious — mainly in North America — and focuses instead on recognizing and celebrating Irish culture.
It is worth noting that the first parade to honour Saint Patrick was held in 1601, in the Spanish Florida, America, by the Spanish colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur. March 17 started to gain more traction around America after 1772, when many Irish soldiers — part of the English military — walked through the streets of New York City.
When it comes to Canada, the first ever parade in remembrance of St. Patrick was in Montreal in 1824. Today, celebrations occur in many cities across the country making the 17th of March, an important date on the calendars of Canadians. According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census, there are more than 4.6 million Canadians — 13.6 per cent of the population — that reported Irish as their ethnic origin.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to assume that many cities — not only in the True North but around the world — will restrict the possibility of people parading or celebrating outdoors, in order to maintain social distancing.
But even with partial or full lockdown in place, you can still make the best out of March 17 by doing some of the following family-friendly celebrations: preparing Irish food, reading about Irish culture or even associating the day with luck as it colloquially is thought of.
The only rule is that you must wear green and be respectful of others’ beliefs.