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Definition: St Patrick's Day from The Macquarie Dictionary

17 March, celebrated in honour of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Summary Article: St Patrick's Day
from Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable

Ireland's national festival, celebrated with a bank holiday, parades and (recently) fireworks and other events on 17 March. The feast day of the national saint is celebrated with different spectral intensities of green in many venues throughout the world. It was early on a holiday in America, being declared such by some Irish Protestants in Boston in 1737, and the first St Patrick's Day parade was held there in 1779. It did not become a public holiday in Ireland until 1900, largely through the efforts of the GAELIC LEAGUE. The League's success in having all public houses closed on St Patrick's Day from 1904 was less popular. The biggest parade of all is traditionally in New York. It is customary for the Irish taoiseach to be in the USA on this day, and for him to present a bowl of SHAMROCK1 to the US president. Since the arrival of the CELTIC TIGER, efforts have been made to lift the standard of the parade in Dublin by including street theatre, mime and dancing, as well as the traditional fare of American marching bands and commercial fioats.

So I fetched me Sunday bonnet and the fiag I love so well

And I bought meself a shamrock just to wear on me lapel.

Don't you know that today's March seventeen?

It's the day for the wearing of the green!

ROGER EDENS: ‘It's a Great Day for the Irish’, from the film Little Nelly Kelly (1940)

Copyright © Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2009

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