Millions of people will be wearing green today to mark St. Patrick's Day. It is in remembrance of the fifth-century Bishop Patrick, who died on March 17.
People in Ireland, those with Irish roots and others celebrate the national holiday with parades, traditional dance, music and beer the world over.
Lively St. Patrick's Day parties are held in the US, Australia and Europe. The religious background to the celebration has faded somewhat into the background.
St. Patrick was born somewhere between the years 385 and 390 in Roman Britain. The missionary brought the Christian faith to Ireland. He set up monasteries, schools and churches there. According to legend, he once held a sermon in a field. Listeners asked him to explain the Holy Trinity. Patrick looked to the ground and saw a shamrock. He picked it and when he looked at it closely he saw it had three leaves. The shamrock is now an Irish symbol of national pride.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, millions of Irish emigrants to the US began to remember their homeland on March 17. Over the decades, people without Irish heritage joined in the celebrations.
The first St. Patrick's Day parade is said to have taken place in new York in 1762. Now there are over 100 parades in the US alone.