July 29, 2014

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Saint Patrick's Day, a cultural and religious holiday

Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. For Christians, the day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. However, it has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Irishness and Irish culture.

The day generally involves public parades and festivals, céilithe, and wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.