March 17th is St. Patrick's Day, a date celebrated with green beer, green clothes and a fond regard for all things Irish. Also known as St. Paddy's Day or Paddy's Day, the day marks an annual feast day on the Catholic calendar which celebrates Saint Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland.
In Irish folklore St. Patrick is credited with chasing all the snakes from Ireland. This popular reference is often considered a metaphor for Christianity replacing Celtic paganism as the chief religion of the Emerald Isle. Paganism was seen by the early church as a type of Devil worship and Satan is often represented by a serpent.
St. Patrick did introduce Christianity to pagan Ireland and is celebrated each year for that reason. Ireland has deep Catholic roots and the celebration of St. Patrick's Day sometimes conflicts with Catholic observances such as eating meat on Fridays, or abstaining from certain behaviors during Lent. Except on very rare occasions most Catholic restrictions are waived on St. Patrick's Day.
St. Patrick's Day normally occurs sometime during the Catholic observance of Lent and in the past when it has fallen during Holy Week the date of celebration has been changed. In 1940 St. Patrick's Day was celebrated on April 3 and in 2008 it was moved to March 15.
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