St. Patrick’s Day: Why the date of March 17?

A representation of Saint Patrick, who died on 17 March 461 in Ireland.
A representation of Saint Patrick, who died on 17 March 461 in Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is Ireland’s national holiday. Considered an important day for the population, it is an opportunity to celebrate Irish culture as well as its history. But do you know why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th exactly? Here’s a little background on the origins of this holiday that has conquered the planet!

A feast to pay homage to the Saint who evangelized Ireland

A single date which corresponds to the death of Saint Patrick: March 17

There is a reason for celebrating Ireland’s national day on March 17. It coincides with the date of the death of St. Patrick, a Scotsman who evangelized Ireland during the 5th century. It was therefore thanks to him that Ireland was converted to Christianity, which has shaped the face of Ireland through the ages, right up to the present day.

For the historical aspect, St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, County Down. By the time of his death, the whole of Ireland had been converted to Christianity: kings, lords, and the entire population had made the choice of religion, adopting the concept of the Holy Trinity (which St. Patrick had symbolized by the three-leaf clover).

As a reminder, Ireland is still today a deeply Catholic country, strongly attached to its religious values.

That’s why this date is used as an official day for the Irish to pay tribute to the Saint. The occasion to celebrate their pride in being Irish, and to pay tribute to the heritage, history and culture of their country. This is why the event is celebrated every year on a fixed date.

Of course, the festivities are now in the habit of spilling over into four days (especially in Dublin, with its St Patrick’s Festival, which offers colourful entertainment a few days before and after D-Day), but the only official date to remember is March 17th. A day to remember absolutely, to celebrate and live a unique experience!

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