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  • This holiday commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
  • It also celebrates Irish heritage and culture in general.
  • Celebrations often include public parades and festivals, and the wearing of the color green.
  • Why green? Wearing green and sporting shamrocks is a nod to St. Patrick because he is said to have used the three-leafed shamrock plant to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.
  • St. Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903.
  • The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was also held in 1903 in Waterford.
  • Some of the most iconic names in poetry and literature hail from the Emerald Isle such as Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, and Samuel Beckett.
  • The potato was imported in the 17th century, and still today remains a symbol of Irish culture and hospitality.
  • Another important part of Irish culture is dancing– jigs, reels, and step dancing– popularized in the 1990s as a result of popular touring shows like Riverdance.
  • Traditional Irish music sees the use of instruments such as the fiddle, piano, and acoustic guitar, as well as native instruments like bouzoukis, uilleann pipes, and the Celtic harp.