Saint Patrick’s Day History and Local Celebrations Planned
By Cara Connelly
The month of March has its perks. Daylight savings time means an extra hour of daylight, spring is near and the highlight of the month – Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.
Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17 since the early 17th century. It marks the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385-461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.
Celebrations traditionally involve public parades, festivals or ceilithe and wearing green. Christians also attend church services and Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day. This seems to encourage and propagate the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.
The Mayo Performing Arts Center is hosting an event, Celtic Nights: Spirit of Freedom, a local event on Thurs., March 17, at 8 p.m., that combines story and songs with traditional Irish music and dance. According to Ed Kirchdoerffer, general manger, the troupe of nearly 15 entertainers tell the story of Irish independence, honoring the struggle of people of fighting to gain freedom and democracy through dancers, singers and musicians. Kirchdoerffer promises a “fun, family show that will be educational and entertaining and there will be no shortage of a Danny Boy sing-a-long.”
Tickets are $39 – $69. Tickets can be purchased at www.mayoarts.org or call 973-539-8008.
Other community activities included the Morris County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Morristown on March 12. The parade boasts that it has more bands than the Rose Bowl Parade. 70,000 spectators enjoy this family friendly event that begins with pre-parade events at the Green at 10:30 a.m. and the parade itself at noon at the corner of South Street and James Street.
The Union County Saint Patrick’s Parade in Elizabeth began with a Mass at St. Patrick’s Church at 10 a.m. on March 12. Activities for the whole family included a kid’s zone on Stuyvesant Avenue and the parade begins at 1 p.m. sharp.
Local Irish Pubs, such as The Dublin Pub, will offer their regular Irish fare along with a few cultural specials and of course, live Irish music. However one celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with family and friends, don’t forget to wear green, sing an Irish tone, enjoy some corned beef and stay safe.