Is St. Patrick’s Day in Canada a Public Holiday?
St. Patrick’s Day is given the status of a public holiday in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Holidays 2023. The celebration falls on 17 March every year. All businesses, retail stores, and shops, as well as the schools, and universities remain closed in these areas. Public Transportations also do not follow their usual route on this day, working reduced hours.
Patrick’s Day Holiday History in Canada
The history of St. Patrick’s Day in Canada dates back to the early 17th century. The Feast in the name of the first patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s was made official then. This Christian Feast was to be held on 17 March, the date of his death. It was held in his honour to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Today, St Patrick’s Day celebrates not only the Feast, but also the saint, and Irish culture in general.
Saint Patrick was the first Christian bishop and missionary in Ireland, who lived during the 5th century. It is said that he was born to a wealthy family in Roman Britain. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders to be sold as a slave. According to the Declaration (believed to be written by St. Patrick himself), he found God in the six years as a shepherd there. God told the saint to flee to the coast and take the ship awaiting him, home.
On returning, Patrick became a priest and started working on converting the pagan Irish to Christianity. He spent years on this task and baptised thousands of those from the Northern part of Ireland. Another famous story about St. Patrick describes how he drove ’snake’ out of Ireland. However, this is an allegory for his work against the druids, since there is no record of snakes ever inhabiting the region. According to several traditional records, St. Patrick died on 17 March, and the day came to be celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day in Canada.
Public Life on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada
The public life on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada is involved in celebrating the Irish diaspora and the foremost saint of Ireland. These generally include parades, céilís, fests, and indulging in everything considered Irish. People wear green clothes or shamrocks, while liturgical Christians attend church services. The St. Patrick’s Day parades in Canada have been active in the region since the 18th century.
The parades, now more of a carnival, initially involved cultural organisations, marching bands, the military, fire brigades, youth groups, voluntary associations, charitable organisations, fraternities, and so on. People try to speak Irish on this day and enjoy traditional music, food, and so on.
Things To Do On St. Patrick’s Day in Canada
There are a plethora of things to do on St. Patrick’s in Canada for you. You can begin your day with the Canadian-special pancakes and maple syrup, or the more Irish breakfast, Lucky Charms. End it with a pint or two (or three) of your favourite beer and step out for some Celtic shenanigans. Various venues in the country host fests comprising live Irish music, concerts, vendor’s markets, beer galore, jam sessions, and everything that celebrates the Irish heritage. Take a look at some of these parades and fests, that offer you a plethora of things to do on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada:
- The annual Halifax St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in North America, the Saint Patrick’s Day parade of Montreal. It has been held annually since 1824. The actual celebration here dates back to 1759 when the Irish soldiers of the Montreal Garrison observed St. Patrick’s Day in Canada.
- The Quebec City St-Patrick Parade
- The three-day St. Patrick’s Day fest in Manitoba composed of Irish music and culture
- Toronto Irish Film Festival
- The five-day St. Paddy’s at the Pint extravaganza in Toronto
- Party at Guinness SPD in Toronto, an all-day celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Canada
- Ottawa Irish Festival Week
- Beau’s St. Patrick’s Party
- The Original St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in Calgary: Win your weight in beer at this healthy (maybe?) competition on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada.
- Vancouver’s Celtic Fest
St. Patrick’s Day Observances
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1. Why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada?
It is believed that the Irish mythological creatures, Leprechauns, pinch anyone they see, and wearing green makes you invisible to them. So, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Canada with this colour.
2. Why do people drink so much on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada?
Historically, the Lenten restrictions placed on eating and drinking alcohol would lift on Feast days. This has, therefore, encouraged the holiday’s tradition of consuming alcohol.
3. Why is a shamrock so crucial for the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day in Canada?
According to certain stories, St. Patrick, in his quest of evangelising the Irish explained the Holy Trinity using a shamrock, the three-leaved plant. Thus, people incorporate the planet in their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations In Other Countries
- St. Patrick’s Day in the USA
- St. Patrick’s Day in the UK
St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Around the World
Tl;dr For those who only wish to know When is St. Patrick’s Day in 2023? The date is 17 March, Friday.
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