What's the history of Saint Patrick's Day?

  • 17 March 2016
Crowds in Belfast Image copyright Pacemaker

Millions of people around the world celebrate Saint Patrick's Day on the 17th of March, every year.

It is a celebration of Irish history and culture, and is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Who was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and is celebrated for bringing Christianity to the country.

He is thought to have grown up in Britain, during Roman times, but was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave.

Once he was free again, he became a priest, and went back to Ireland to convert thousands of people to Christianity.

The celebration

Saint Patrick's Day started as a religious feast to celebrate Saint Patrick's work, but it's grown to be an international festival of all things Irish.

People take part in parades and dancing, eat Irish food, and enjoy firework displays.

The day is also famous for people wearing shamrocks, dressing up as bearded Irish fairies called leprechauns, and wearing all green.

Here are some of the best shots from the celebrations...

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Spectators in Dublin wear leprechauns' hats at the St Patrick's Day parade
Image caption A flute player joins a parade in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Image caption Crowds enjoy watching the Irish dancers in Belfast
Image caption A toddler enjoys a green ice cream
Image caption Someone dressed as St Patrick himself makes an appearance in Omagh, Northern Ireland where he joined the parade down the street by a tractor

And buildings were turned green for the occasion...

Image copyright PA
Image caption The London Eye
Image copyright PA
Image caption Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London
Image copyright PA
Image caption The Trafford Centre in Manchester
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Empire State Building, New York, USA
Image copyright Tourism Ireland
Image caption Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas, USA
Image copyright Tourism Irelnad
Image caption The Ada Bridge in Belgrade, Serbia
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Sacre Coeur, Paris, France

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