St. Patrick’s Day

 Many people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. This was originally a religious Irish holiday but is celebrated all over the world now. It is a public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, U.K..

St. Patrick is one of Ireland’s patron saints who grew up in Great Britain, U.K. and spent his later life in Ireland spreading word about the religion Christianity. He is believed to have died on March 17 over 1,500 years ago. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with parades, dancing, music, green things, and lots of food.

A symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is the the shamrock, a three-leafed clover. According to legend, St. Patrick used the shamrock for his religious teachings to the Irish people. A tradition is to wear something green otherwise you’ll get pinched! Why green? Nobody knows for sure. The color of St. Patrick is originally believed to have been blue. However, the color green is associated with Ireland since the country has a very green landscape. At some point, the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day changed to green. Kids are told a story about the Leprechaun, a small old man with a hat and a pot of gold.

For over 40 years, the Chicago River in Chicago, USA has been dyed green as part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This year, the river was colored green on March 16. Many famous buildings around the world were illuminated in green light for the celebration.  The Sydney Opera House (Australia), the Eiffel Tower (France), the Sky Tower (New Zealand), Burj al Arab (UAE), the London Eye (UK), the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy), and the Empire State Building (USA) were some of them. Even a mountain called Table Mountain (South Africa) was shining green for the event. This year, there were a few famous landmarks that were lit green for the first time. Some of them were the Pyramids of Giza (Egypt), the Sphinx (Egypt),  the Little Mermaid (Denmark), and the Christ the Redeemer statue (Brazil).  Chris Hadfield, an astronaut currently on the International Space Station, wore a green outfit on March 17 to celebrate the day.

Here is a video of a flashmob (a group of people who suddenly come together in a public place and perform an act) at a train station in Australia doing an Irish dance. Some of the dancers are from the famous Irish dance company called Riverdance.

Image Credits: NASA/Chris Hadfield for Hadfield’s image; Mike Young for Sydney Opera House’s image