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St Patrick’s Day
March 17, 2017
Background of St Patrick’s Day
Many Australians remember the Irish settlement and culture on St Patrick’s Day. The Irish were among the first Europeans to settle in Australia. They comprised a portion of the convict settlement population in the late 1700s. More than 300,000 other Irish settlers (not convicts) migrated to Australia between 1840 and 1914. Many Irish immigrants came to Australia to escape famine in their homeland. About 30 percent of Australians are believed to have some Irish ancestry today.
One way of preserving Irish traditions and customs in Australia is celebrating St Patrick’s Day each year. St Patrick is one of Ireland’s patron saints. He died on March 17 in or around the year 493. He worked as a missionary in Ireland and it is believed that he banished “snakes” from the country although the term may have referred to druids or pagan worshippers.