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Who was Saint Patrick?
The patron saint of Ireland brought Christianity to Ireland. He is believed to have died on 17 March sometime in the 5 century (some scholars place his death in AD 461) but the modern origin of the festival now celebrated globally stems from the 17 century. It was designated a religious feast day after the Vatican officially recognised the date in 1631.
Where is it celebrated?
It is an official public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat.
However, as anyone who likes a drink will know, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated far more widely.
Galicia, a small region in Spain, has some interesting links to Ireland. There is a body of historical evidence that indicates Ireland was by the Gaels, from the Iberian Peninsula.
There’s also an unusual link with Nigeria, to which St Patrick is also the patron saint of (he shares the title with the Virgin Mary). Home to 20 million Roman Catholics, St Patrick (and celebrations around him) landed along with the Catholic missionaries in the early 20 Century and has stayed ever since.
How is it celebrated?
Frequently by drinking far too much of the black stuff, often referred to as Guinness. According to Diageo, the global drinks firm that owns and distributes the inky drink, more than 13 million pints are consumed world-wide every St Patrick’s Day.
When did it become the all-singing, all-drinking party?
Not until fairly recently. It wasn’t even an Irish public holiday until 1904, although the Irish elites did celebrate in the latter half of the 19 century with an annual ball held in Dublin castle – but for most ordinary folk it remained a quiet day. Until the mid-1960s many pubs remained closed on 17 March.
The holiday – as we know it today – stems in great part from the United States, rather than the emerald isle.
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Jacques van Rooyen, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Warwick Tecklenburg, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Stokkies Hanekom
15. SP Marais, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Renaldo Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Mouritz Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Marco Wentzel,20. Jean Deysel, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Odwa Ndungane
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Petersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.
Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks
15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Arno Botha, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Jacques du Plessis, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16. Callie Visagie, 17. Morne Mellet, 18. Dayan vd Westhuizen/Neethling Fouche, 19. Grant Hattingh, 20. Pierre Spies, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23. Jesse Kriel
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones