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Not just green beer: Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day roots

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Toronto!

Those hoisting a celebratory pint might by interested to learn the holiday hasn’t always been about green beer and pubs. It’s a day deeply rooted in the religious history of Ireland.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that St. Patrick’s Day began to grow into the celebration we know today, with parades, dance and day-long festivities.

According to Irishman Gerhard Curran, the way we celebrate in Canada is different from Irish tradition.

“This Irish pub phenomenon came into the North American scene (only) 20 years ago,” he said.

“You’re seeing more and more Canadians embracing and going out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a good time for everybody to go out and enjoy themselves and be Irish for a day.”

He adds that, in Ireland, March 17 has a family focus and is a day of holy obligation, though it’s also a time devotees permit themselves to drink Guinness during Lent.

This is where the pub tradition began, according to Curran, who said it’s believed that St. Patrick was responsible for bringing Christianity to Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint days in the world.

Here is a list of events happening in Toronto:

  • St. Lawrence Market, north building — St. Party’s Day celebration
  • Dora Keogh, Allen’s, Irish Embassy Pub & Grill, and Ceili Cottage — live music
  • P.J. O’Brien — Ireland vs. England rugby game, Irish dancers
  • Steam Whistle Brewery — St. Patrick’s Day party
  • The Ballroom — Free shoe rentals and Irish fare

Below is a video of the St. Patrick’s Day flash mob in Yonge-Dundas Square:

With files from CityNews.ca staff