The late 1800’s and early 1900’s has become known as the Gaelic Revival. The first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in 1903 in a town called Waterford. A few years earlier, the Gaelic Union had declared this week to be Gaelic Language week. The parade is still practiced today, but 15 years after the first parade the motive for doing so was changed from celebration to demonstration.
Ireland, in the early 1900’s, was going through an identity crisis just like America is today. There was a large portion of the public that celebrated the provinces allegiance to the crown, and the other half that wanted to be as far separated from it as they could. Fighting and bickering was more so about rather or not the monarchy had the best interest of the people of Ireland at heart.
In 1916, the Irish Volunteers took to the streets to display their numbers. It was reported, that out of the 6,000 people that marched that day half were armed. This was the metaphorical, “warning shot” to those in the monarchy. A month later, an event called, “Easter Rising” occurred.
This was the beginning of a period of civil war and civil unrest in Ireland, and the day was used to march in protest rather than in celebration for 15 years until 1931.
Until the 1960’s it was celebrated by few in Northern Ireland because the celebration had been so wrapped in rebellion from the crown. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s before all the people of Ireland began to celebrate in unity.
St. Patrick’s Day is the most widely celebrated Nationalist Holiday in the world, it is celebrated on every continent.