Lighting up the library for St. Patrick's Day

Sunday 17 March 2024

On Sunday evening the exterior of the Library of Birmingham will be lit up green as part of Birmingham’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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.

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.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been significantly shaped by those of Irish communities living abroad, especially in North America.

St Patrick

Saint Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary and Bishop in Ireland.

Legend says he was born in Britain, and was captured as a teenager by Irish raiders who took him to Ireland as a slave.

During his time in captivity, Patrick found solace in his faith. He prayed a lot and became deeply religious. After six years, he managed to escape and returned to his family in Britain.

Later, Patrick had a vision where he felt called by God to return to Ireland as a missionary, to spread Christianity to the Irish people. So he went back to Ireland and began preaching the Christian message, using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the Irish people.

Legend says he performed many miracles, such as driving snakes out of Ireland. He travelled throughout the country, establishing churches, schools, and monasteries.

St. Patrick is also famous for banishing all snakes from Ireland. Though this is likely a metaphor for driving out pagan practices rather than actual snakes.

Eventually, he became beloved by the Irish people and is remembered as the one who brought Christianity to Ireland.

St. Patrick's Day, celebrated on 17 March, marks the anniversary of his death and is observed with parades, feasts, and the wearing of green in many countries, not just Ireland.

Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade 2024

Detail of this year’s celebrations can found on the Birmingham Irish Association's website.

Article posted: 13 March 2024

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