What has run every year, consecutively, since 1824? The answer is the Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade! Since 1929, it’s been organized by the United Irish Societies of Montreal. Every year, a “giant replica of St. Patrick at the onset of the parade lets everyone know that the celebration has begun”. It’s an important celebration for the Irish—though everyone is welcome to participate. The country’s other large St. Patrick’s Day parade is in Toronto; though much hyped, it’s only been running 26 years. But all over the country, pubs, bars, and restaurants get into the mood on March 17th. Often, at least in larger Canadian centres, you have to reserve a spot to hoist a pint of Guinness to the patron Saint, and Irish culture and tradition. In parts of Eastern Canada, however, it’s more than just a tradition…
In Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Patricks’ Day is a provincial holiday each year on the Monday nearest to March 17th! It’s observed by the Provincial government, but federal employees, many stores, and so forth still remain open or at work.
St. Patrick’s Day is steeped in Christianity and Irish history.
The patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick is one of Christianity’s most well-known figures. March 17th was his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death. This date has been observed by the Irish for centuries. St Patrick’s Day celebrations were brought to Canada by Irish immigrants. In Northern Ireland, the day is a bank holiday, and in the Republic of Ireland, it’s a public holiday.
We’re encouraged to wear something green for St. Patrick’s Day, and a leafy green plant help explain why. The leaf of the shamrock is green, and it often grows among grass. The shamrock is a symbol of Ireland, as well as being a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland.