When is St. Patrick's Day 2008?

I know it might seem a little eary to start talking about St. Patrick's Day but we're really only just a little more than a month away from it. Because I'm a novice, non-competitive piper, to me at least, St. Patrick's Day is the premiere bagpiping day of the year. And I suppose the fact that St. Patrick's Day 2007 was the first time I played publicly with my band also cements the importance of the day in my mind.

My band is confirming their calendar for our annual St. Patrick's Day pub crawl and we found out that the actual date of St. Patrick's Day 2008 is a bit of a debatable issue.

It turns out that Monday, March 17, the day that is typically celebrated as St. Patrick's Day, falls on a day that is holy to the Catholic church. It's the week between Palm Sunday and Easter so it's also a week that is holy to all Christians. So the Irish Bishops wrote to the Vatican about the conflict and the Catholic church officially moved St. Patrick's Day to Saturday March 15.

Interestingly enough, this is the first time the day has been moved since 1940 and there won't be another conflict with the date until 2160.

So what does this actually mean?
It means that any religious services connected with honoring St. Patrick will be held on March 15.

But what does it mean for you and your St. Patrick's Day festivities and parade plans ?

Glancing over US parade dates, it looks like most US cities are using both the draw of the weekend, and the conflict with the Holy Week to hold their parades on the 15th as well. Atlanta, San Antonia and San Francisco for example, are all holding their parades on the 15th. Chicago is also holding their parade on the 15th, but information on their web site says that they always hold it on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day. Washington D.C. and Boston are holding their parades on the 16th.

The only major US city that I could see that is holding their parade on March 17th is New York City.

Internationally, London and Sydney are holding their celebrations on the 16th.

But, let's look at the really big St. Patrick's Day show: Ireland. Belfast, Cork, and Dublin are all holding their parades on March 17th. According to statements made by Dublin organizers, the actual day and parade are such a huge tourist draw (they expect 600,000 people). They also wanted to just simply avoid confusion, so they kept it on the 17th.

So what did my band decide to do? Well, none of us are Catholics, so, with respect to all Catholics out there, orders from the Pope don't mean a lot to us. In case I haven't mentioned it before, most of the people in my band are of Scottish descent, so lots of Presbyterians. It really wasn't a debate at all, someone read about the change in dates and mentioned it to the band but we all wanted to keep to the traditional date of March the 17th, and that's what we're doing.

Pipe on!


1st Lady said...

Because of all the date confusion may I suggest a St.Patricks Day pub crawl on the 15th, 16th, and 17th? ;)

Piping Girl said...

This was suggested by my band too! Thanks for stopping by.

ss_blog_claim=68f7af64104fe11da76f3d4a6a84c2cd ss_blog_claim=68f7af64104fe11da76f3d4a6a84c2cd