Saint Patrick's Day

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March 17, observed by the Irish in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is St. Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

In places outside Ireland, especially in the U.S., it’s often seen as a celebration of Irish and Irish heritage. This is especially the case among those who have Irish heritage and in places where many such people live, though many people observe the day for fun despite not having any Irish ancestry.

Popular ways of celebrating the day include parades, wearing green, and displaying and decorating with symbols of Ireland, such as shamrocks and leprechauns. Many people simply use the day as an excuse for a party, especially for drinking excessively.

It is sometimes informally called St. Patty’s Day.

When is St. Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is always on March 17.

March 17 is thought to be the date that St. Patrick died, around the year 461 CE.

Who was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick was a Christian missionary who is thought to have been born in Britain around 389 CE. According to tradition, he used the three leafs of the shamrock (now a national symbol of Ireland) to teach about the three-part Trinity. According to legend, he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. This legend is sometimes seen as symbolizing his role in spreading Christianity in Ireland, leading to the suppression of pre-Christian religions, such as that of the Druids.

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Ireland as St. Patrick’s feast day for more than a thousand years.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing St. Patrick’s Day?

How is St. Patrick's Day discussed in real life?

In many places, St. Patrick’s Day is generally seen as a day to celebrate Irish heritage. In the U.S., it’s known as a day of parades and festivities that many people take part in regardless of whether they have Irish ancestry.


Try using St. Patrick's Day!

True or False?

St. Patrick’s Day is observed on the date of St. Patrick’s birthday.

How to use Saint Patrick's Day in a sentence