So When is St Patrick’s Day Anyways?

by Brad Smith on March 15, 2008 · 2 comments

Stout St PattysSt Patrick’s day is Monday March 17th 2008, right? Well it turns out that things are not so simple. Due to the early Easter holiday this year, St Patrick’s day conflicts with holy week. Because of this, Roman Catholic Church officials have moved St Patrick’s day feast up to Saturday the 15th of March.

This is the first time since 1940 that St Patrick’s day conflicts with holy week. Easter is traditionally held on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. St Patrick’s feast and mass is traditionally held on March 17th. Another conflict is not expected until 2160!

The net result has been some confusion among event organizers. Many US St Patrick’s day events are still being scheduled on the traditional 17 March date, while others scheduled for the Sunday before now find themselves with events on Palm Sunday. Bishops are urging Catholics not to violate the church rule that no feasts in honor of a Saint be held during holy week, so the church and some cities have moved their events to the 15th or even earlier.

How will it all turn out? No one really knows, but I hope you enjoy your St Patrick’s day celebration and have a great week.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Timothy March 15, 2008 at 5:46 pm

>”Roman Catholic Church officials have moved St Patrick’s day feast up to Saturday the 15th of March.”

Um, actually it was Friday, March 14th. You missed it.

Saturday, March 15th is/was the Feast of St Joseph, which was moved from Wednesday, March 19, again due to Holy Week.

Since both are Catholic saints and the Catholic Church has authority over the liturgical calendar, the catholic Church gets to decide what days are St Patrick;s Day and St Joseph’s Day. Its their calendar after all.

Personally, I find it all a bit strange for non-Catholics to observe a Catholic feast day.

Brad Smith March 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm

It appears its a bit more complicated than that. Irish Bishops settled on the 15th, while many American bishops settled on the 14th. Meanwhile many event organizers stayed with the 17th, and a few even have parades on the 16th (Palm Sunday). To add to the confusion, Ireland kept their national holiday on Monday the 17th. At least we have over 100 years to wait before the next conflict…

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