SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on the 17th of March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland who lived in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years.

After converting to Catholicism, Saint Patrick dedicated his life to serving and giving to others and his special day was first designated a Christian feast day in the 17th century. The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day first came to the United States of America in 1737, when Irish troops serving in Boston, celebrated their national holiday. The first public celebration in New York came almost twenty years later in 1756.

On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast–on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

Sean Clark is the President of The Hibernian Society of Utah, a group formed to preserve Irish history, culture and traditions within the State of Utah. One of the biggest events the group hosts annually is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Salt Lake City. Clark says the 2022 celebration was one of the largest in recent history. The group is also donating $3,017 to the Utah Ukrainian Foundation to support relief efforts from the current war in the Ukraine. They encourage others to share in this act of kindness in the spirit of St. Patrick and make a donation to the association as well. Learn more about that group at UtahUkrainians.org.

Visit the Hibernian Society of Utah by clicking here.