Saint Patrick’s Day fixed on March 17, is the religious and festive holiday, commemorating one of Ireland’s patron saints, Saint Patrick, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. In the United States the holiday traditionally celebrates Irish-American culture. In every year since 1991, US Congress or President has proclaimed March Irish-American Heritage Month due to the date of St Patrick’s Day.
Celebrations usually include Irish themed public parades and festivals. The largest street parades are held on or around March 17 in cities with a large Irish-American population, including Boston, New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle.
The color green has been associated with Ireland, so it is customary to wear green clothing or accessories on St Patrick’s Day. In some cities and towns river and fountain water is dyed green. Many restaurants offer green colored food on this day.
Besides the color green shamrock is the most common St Patrick’s Day symbol. According to legend, St Patrick used this three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. So wearing shamrocks is also a popular custom.
Other symbols are the green, orange and white flag of Ireland and artificially colored green beer. Church restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption. So St Patrick’s Day has been criticized for being one of the leading days for consumption of alcohol in the United States.
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