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St. Patrick's Day in Canada

Quick Facts

St Patrick's Day commemorates the life and work of St Patrick, a Christian missionary who lived in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Local names

NameLanguage
St. Patrick's DayEnglish
Fête de la Saint-PatrickFrench
St. Patrick's DayGerman

St. Patrick's Day 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014 (local in Newfoundland and Labrador)

St. Patrick's Day 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015 (local in Newfoundland and Labrador)
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
List of dates for other years

St Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador on the nearest Monday to March 17 each year.

This event commemorates the life of St Patrick, a missionary who worked in Ireland and is said to have died on March 17 in the fifth century. He played an important role in converting the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity. Now, his feast day is an opportunity to celebrate Irish culture.

St. Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day, which is an official holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, celebrates Irish culture, history and traditions.

©iStockphoto.com/Garth Johnson

What do people do?

In some cities, notably Toronto and Montreal, large scale St Patrick's Day parades are held, often on the Sunday closest to March 17. The parade in Montreal has been held every year since 1824. However, the first recorded celebration of St Patrick's Day was in 1759 by Irish soldiers serving with the British army following their conquest of part of New France, a French colony in North America. In some places there are Irish cultural events. For instance, the Irish Association of Manitoba organizes a three-day festival of Irish culture in the week of St Patrick's Day.

People who have an Irish background or enjoy Irish culture may hold Irish themed parties and serve traditional dishes, such as Colcannon or Irish stew. Colcannon is a dish of mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage and Irish stew is traditionally made with lamb and root vegetables. Traditional Irish drinks include stout, a dark beer, and whiskey. Other parties may be themed around the color green. Guests may be expected to wear green clothes and only green food and drink is served.

Public life

St Patrick's Day is an official holiday in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is observed by the provincial government, but post offices, stores, many schools, businesses and other organizations are open. Public transport services run on their regular timetables.

St Patrick's Day is not a public holiday in other parts of Canada. Schools, organizations, businesses, stores and post offices are open as usual. Some organizations may arrange St Patrick's Day parties, but these do not usually disrupt normal affairs. Public transport services run on their regular timetables. In cities, where parades or large public events are held, there may be some congestion or road closures.

Background

St Patrick's Day marks the feast day and anniversary of the death of a Christian missionary known as Patrick. He was born in the year 387, probably somewhere near the present day border between Scotland and England. At the age of 16, he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave. During this period, he became very religious and after six years he fled back to his family.

Later in his life, he returned to Ireland as a missionary. He is said to have played an important role in converting the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity and in ridding the island of snakes. However, there is no evidence that there have been any snakes in Ireland in the past 10,000 years. The “snakes” he drove out of Ireland may represent particular groups of pagans or druids. It is believed that St Patrick died on March 17 probably in the year 461 or 493 (according to different sources). St Patrick is buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down, and is one of the three patron saints of Ireland. The other patron saints are St Brigid of Kildare and St Columba.

St Patrick's Day celebrations were brought to Canada by Irish immigrants. The day is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland. In the rest of the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, it is celebrated, but is not an official holiday.

Symbols

The most widely-seen St Patrick's Day symbols are the colors green, and sometimes orange, and the shamrock. The shamrock is a symbol of Ireland and a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland. It is the leaf of the clover plant, which grows on the ground, often among grass and an Irish Catholic symbol of the Holy Trinity. It is sometimes confused with the four-leaf clover, which is a variety of the three-leaf clover and is thought to bring good luck.

About St. Patrick's Day in other countries

Read more about St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick's Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SatMar 171990St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 191990St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SunMar 171991St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 181991St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 161992St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
TueMar 171992St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 151993St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
WedMar 171993St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 141994St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
ThuMar 171994St. Patrick's DayObservance 
FriMar 171995St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 201995St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SunMar 171996St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 181996St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 171997St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 171997St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 161998St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
TueMar 171998St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 151999St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
WedMar 171999St. Patrick's DayObservance 
FriMar 172000St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 202000St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SatMar 172001St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 192001St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SunMar 172002St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 182002St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 172003St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 172003St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 152004St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
WedMar 172004St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 142005St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
ThuMar 172005St. Patrick's DayObservance 
FriMar 172006St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 202006St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SatMar 172007St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 192007St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 172008St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 172008St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 162009St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
TueMar 172009St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 152010St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
WedMar 172010St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 142011St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
ThuMar 172011St. Patrick's DayObservance 
SatMar 172012St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 192012St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SunMar 172013St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 182013St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 172014St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 172014St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 162015St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
TueMar 172015St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 142016St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
ThuMar 172016St. Patrick's DayObservance 
FriMar 172017St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 202017St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SatMar 172018St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 192018St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
SunMar 172019St. Patrick's DayObservance 
MonMar 182019St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
MonMar 162020St. Patrick's DayLocal holidayNewfoundland and Labrador
TueMar 172020St. Patrick's DayObservance 

Other holidays in March 2014 in Canada

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