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When is St Patrick's Day 2018 - and who was the Patron Saint? The annual festival is celebrated throughout the UK; The annual festival is celebrated throughout the UK.

Byline: James Rodger

Every year in the month of March millions of people dress up and celebrate Irish culture for St Patrick's Day.

The annual festival is celebrated throughout the UK by the Irish and non-Irish community too. Local pubs and bars always expect to be very busy on the day and you're likely to see lots of people wearing shamrock hats or green clothing.

But the day is also observed all over the world, with parades and events held as far afield as New York, Buenos Aires, Auckland and even Tokyo.

So, what's the real story about St Patrick's Day?

Here's everything you need to know.

St Patrick's Day was originally a religious feast day for its namesake Christian missionary and the patron saint of Ireland.

Although it was originally only celebrated in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland it has since grown into a global celebration of Irish culture, with festivities held across the world.

St Patrick was a Christian missionary and bishop. He is known as the apostle and patron of Ireland

It is believed his real name was Maewyn Succat and he was said to have lived around 400 AD. The date of his birth and death are unclear but some people believe he died on March 17, 493 AD.

He grew up in Roman Britannia which was an area in Great Britain that was governed by the the Roman Empire between 43-410 AD.

At the age of 16, Maewyn was captured by raiders and kept as a slave in Mount Slemish, Ireland for six years.

During this time he turned to Christianity to guide him through.

One day he heard a voice telling him he was soon going to go home and that a ship was ready for him. So Maewyn escaped, fled 200 miles to a port and persuaded a ship's captain to allow him on board.

It is believed that he met up with his parents in Wales before travelling to France where he became a priest and later a bishop.

He returned to Ireland years later converting the pagans to Christianity in the northern half of the country.

He would use shamrocks (a sprig of clover) to explain the Holy Trinity to those he preached to, resulting in the widespread presence of the plants on St Patrick's Day.

It is also believed he performed miracles and built churches across Ireland.

The annual event is no longer regarded as simply a religious feast.

On the day people now dress up as leprechauns (bearded fairies from Irish folklore), eat green-coloured food and enjoy a drink or two. They may also attend local public parades.

St Patrick's day is an annual national holiday in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but it's also celebrated in the UK as well as in America, Canada and Australia.

St Patrick's Day is Saturday March 17.

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Credit: Birmingham Mail

Credit: PA

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Title Annotation:What's On
Publication:Coventry Telegraph (Coventry, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 13, 2018
Words:486
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