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Kiss Me, I’m Irish

March 17th, better known as St. Patrick’s Day, can be linked to green beer, cupcakes, pancakes, themed clothing and even leprechaun spotting.  But where does the festive day originate from that so many people have come to now celebrate? 

According to History, March 17th observes the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It originally represented a religious feast day, being a holiday for over 1000 years now in Ireland. The tradition was that of attending church in the morning, and indulging on a feast in the afternoon. The Lenten tradition of not eating meat would be waived, and patrons would partake in Irish traditions including dancing, music and the Irish favourite of bacon & cabbage.  

The spirit of embracing the festivities has spread over time from the Irish specifically to those of all cultures – a lot of which had to do with migrations that took place over the years. Though the tradition of food, dancing and beverages has lived on, many can admit to foregoing the church-visits in the morning. It has been recorded that hundreds of St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across North America to mark the occasion – New York City & Boston specifically are the largest in the USA; with Chicago even dying the river green to mark the occasion. In Canada, Toronto & Montreal throw quite a few parties themselves.  

Guinness sponsors St. Paddy’s Day (better known as SPD), the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in Toronto – taking place Saturday, March 18. Purchasing a $15-30 ticket will get you access to live bands, fiddlers & Irish dancers; DJ’s, outdoor patios & interactive games; pancake breakfast & other food options; photo booths, face painters and balloon artists as well. Note that this is a 19+ event as multiple bar spaces are located throughout the venue. Interested in attending? Click here for more details. 

Though numerous pubs and restaurants will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Montreal as well, they are better known for the parade that they host along Saint Catherine street from du Fort to Place Phillips. It has been consecutively produced for 194 years, adding to the Irish Season that they run. Crowds of up to 750,000 people have been known to gather to view the hundreds of floats and groups making up the spectacle. The parade and other Irish Season events are also being linked back to Montreal’s 375th celebrations, with a few extra activities and events added. Learn more about the history and upcoming events here.   

Whether you’re celebrating because you’re Irish by blood, you’ve deemed yourself Irish for the day, or just to relax on a Friday – please drink responsibly! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for those leprechauns and four leaf clovers… apparently, they’re good luck. 

References: http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/history-of-st-patricks-day http://www.montrealirishparade.com/ http://spdcanada.com/toronto