Hmmm. Wait. What does this mean exactly? Well, 'Dia Dhuit' actually translates into 'Hello' in Irish Gaelic. A rather fitting introduction really, as St Patrick's Day is almost here!
St Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture, and this year will be held on Saturday, March 17. In particular the day remembers St Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints who sustained Christianity in the country during the fifth century.
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many parts of the world - certainly not just in Ireland! It is especially popular in countries that have large Irish communities and organizations, including the USA, Australia, Canada and, of course, the UK.
To celebrate, many people wear an item of green clothing on the day. Also popular are parties and events featuring Irish food and drinks that are often dyed in green food color. It is a time when kids can indulge in all manner of green sweets and candies, and adults can enjoy a “pint” of beer at a local pub or bar.
Many restaurants and pubs offer Irish food or drink, which include:
St Patrick's Day is an official public holiday in Ireland, and is a festive occasion in other parts of the world where it is not a public holiday. Restaurants, bars and public venues are often full to capacity, with St Patrick's Day representing one of the busiest days of the year for many businesses.
The most common St Patrick's Day symbol is the shamrock - a leaf of the clover plant and a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Many people choose to wear the color green, and the flag of the Republic of Ireland is often seen in St Patrick’s Day parades around the world.
Religious symbols include snakes and serpents, as well as the Celtic cross. Other Irish-related symbols seen on St Patrick’s Day include the harp, which was used in Ireland for centuries, as well as a mythological creature known as the leprechaun and a pot of gold that the leprechaun keeps hidden.
FUN FACT: The dyeing of the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois, has been a tradition for many generations and attracts thousands of people dressed in green to see the action live. As many as 400,000 Irish loving locals line the banks of the Chicago River for the spectacle which lasts between 4 to 5 hours. Festivities then continue afterwards as revelers parade with floats and flags to the sound of bagpipes. What a sight!
Celebrated in more countries than any other national festival in the world, St Patrick's Day really is a fantastic opportunity to get together with friends, rock something green and celebrate everything that is Irish in our world! Whether this be wearing a giant green shamrock hat, busting a few moves with an Irish folk dance, or sipping on a pint or two of a particular famous Irish stout...
Written by Steve Connors
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