Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Should Christians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  I think we’ve put out a response to just about every major holiday now.  They may seem a bit redundant at times, but many people still have questions about certain holidays.  And as our culture gets more secular in nature, devout Christians are rightly concerned that they not partake in celebrations that are not God honoring. 

Our “Should Christians Celebrate….” Series normally seeks to answer objections related to the origin of the holiday. In this respect, St. Patrick’s day is different than many of the others.  There are no alleged ties to pagan festivals.  There are no allegations that the holiday was stolen from another culture.  St. Patrick is not a retelling of another historical figure.  St. Patrick’s Day has been uniquely Christian from its origins. 

St. Patrick was never actually canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint.  He had a fascinating history to be sure.  You can read about some of his life’s story here.  He was largely responsible for spreading the Gospel to the country of Ireland in the 5th century.  And for this, he deserves much praise. 

When Did The Holiday Start?

St. Patrick’s Day was not a huge feast or festival in the Church until the 1700’s.  The celebration did take off however.  And many of the Irish immigrants to the United States brought the celebration with them.  It quickly became a popular celebration here in America.  

Today the celebration has more to do with celebrating Irish culture than anything to do with Christianity.  This is not a bad thing in and of itself.  The Irish have a proud tradition in both this country and in Ireland.  

To that end, there is not much in the way of Christianity related to the holiday.  It’s not seen as a day we should all go to Church.  We don’t gather together and worship St. Patrick.  Catholics do celebrate mass on this day.  It did gain popularity as being the one day during Lent that you are allowed to eat meat and drink. 

Should We Partake?

So, Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? As we’ve said many times with the other holidays in this series, it’s perfectly fine to celebrate these holidays.  We can enjoy time with our friends and family.  We can also cook up corned beef and cabbage and wear green. Have fun!

But there are of course limits to the celebrations we should partake in.  We shouldn’t indulge in alcohol consumption to the point of excess.  And the days of playfully pinching a stranger are long past.  As with anything we do, our actions should be God honoring. As long as we are respecting others around us and being respectful of God, there is no reason Christians should avoid celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.    

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