Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.
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Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, also known as the Orthodox Church, or officially as the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second largest Christian church and one of the oldest extant religious institutions in the world.
The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint.
The Anglican Communion is an international association of autonomous churches consisting of the Church of England and national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with it.
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The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.
Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.
A shamrock is a young sprig of clover, used as a symbol of Ireland.
Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.
In Christianity, a church service is a formalized period of communal worship, often but not exclusively occurring on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism.
Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.
Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat.
Montserrat is a Caribbean island—specifically in the Leeward Islands, which is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the British West Indies.
Ireland, also described as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland.
Northern Ireland is a top-level constituent unit of the United Kingdom in the northeast of Ireland.
It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Irish people are a nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture.
Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located in southeastern South America.
The Irish diaspora refers to Irish people and their descendants who live outside Ireland.
Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.
Modern celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of the Irish diaspora, particularly those that developed in North America.
In recent years, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations for having become too commercialised and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish.