A celebration is a time for people to come together and share experiences. St. Patrick’s Day has been such a holiday because the date transcends generations and has been known to bridge the gap between friends on more than a few occasions. But there’s a deeper meaning than you might think.
What kind of celebration is that?
Evacuation Day? What is that? Today is March seventeenth and that means green beer and everything shamrock o’bastard. Saint Patrick’s Day (Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is the traditional holiday, celebrated across the United States and Ireland (although the celebrations differ slightly), memorialising the death of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. So what is this Evacuation Day thing? Why is that important, anyway? Take a knee and listen to a bit of history.
March 17th isn’t just a day on the calendar
Saint Patrick was a fifth century bishop in Ireland. He was infamously kidnapped by raiders and spent six years as a shepherd, during which time he found God. I say infamously because this was according to his own autobiography and who knows if they had the literary equivalent of Photoshop. He returned to Ireland to convert the pagans to Christianity; famously failing to sway the Druids. His death and burial occurred at Downpatrick; and it is that date most celebrations represent. But that isn’t the only event to occur on that date.
Revolutionary War links to Ireland
A hundred years or so after the beginning of the Revolutionary War, an industrious young man from Boston discovered that March 17th is the date the British were run out of Boston (we have no comment on this research occurring after the city refused to name the date an official celebration for the Irish St. Patrick); evacuating their posts as they’d stood. It infamously became known as Evacuation Day and, in 1938, it was declared a holiday across all of Suffolk County. All businesses in that county close down and that’s usually when the Southie Parade happens.
Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!
The now infamous slogan had taken on a life of it’s own. No one seems exactly sure of where the phrase comes from and so, on behalf of the disproportionately large Irish population in the city of Boston, I claim it. Someone from Boston coined it; we just don’t know who and refuse to answer questions about it. The emotion behind the phrase speaks volumes to how gregarious the Irish can be.