Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Canada

Laurier’s favourite celebration is coming up, St. Patrick’s Day on Friday, March 17th. In
Canada, St.Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated. While it isn’t a statutory holiday, many people
take the day off to attend St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations. Parades exist in large cities
across Ontario with the largest being in Montreal, given the common Irish roots of the native
French Canadians across Quebec.

When you think of Ireland, and St. Patrick’s Day what colour comes to mind? Several of
the Irish symbols are the colour green. On the day of, you won’t see many people not in green
attire. The colour green is not only the same colour as a shamrock, but represents Irish
nationalism. Ireland is also known for its beautiful rolling green grass hills.

The Canadian way to celebrate Irish nationalism is to wear green to support our country’s multiculturalism. Shamrock shakes from McDonalds are another enjoyable way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Canada. McDonalds serves these mint green milkshakes for the entire month of March
leading up to the 17th, and until they run out. Irish culture favours a plate of corned beef and
cabbage as their celebratory dish. Which will you be trying on St. Pat’s Day?

Shamrocks, themselves, are a famous Irish symbol, a three leaf clover that represents the
Holy Trinity, related to Christianity. Did you know Saint Patrick is a person who is responsible
for the religious legacy that started this celebration?

Many Canadians take part in the celebrations without knowing the background of the day.
St Patrick’s Day started in medieval Ireland in the 10th Century AD as a religious ceremony that
saluted Saint Patrick and celebrated the arrival of Christianity into Ireland. The legend suggests
that Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. While at first his preaching was not accepted
by the Irish, he continued openly preaching and eventually Christianity was the dominant
religion across the country. Saint Patrick’s name went on to become known for chasing all of the
snakes away from Ireland, and feeding the hungry.

The Leprechaun is what you may have believed was the legacy, the little redheaded,
green wearing man with a top hat, who found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! While this
is a cute story, the leprechaun is just a symbol, or rather an unofficial mascot for Saint Patrick. In
turn, many think that excessively drinking beer is a celebratory staple in Ireland, this is in fact a
false stereotype.

Keeping this in mind, please be respectful of true Irish culture and keep in mind the
cherished Irish identity! Unfortunately, you are not magically granted the luck of the Irish for the
day, so please be smart if you are partaking in any St. Patrick’s Day celebrations; we encourage
you to be respectful to others, as well as to public or private property, and to make wise decisions
to ensure your safety.

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