Tracing its history back to the late XIX century, Saint Patrick's Day is one of the greatest historical European events, which commemorates the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. Recognized as a legal holiday of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the province of Newfoundland, Saint Patrick's Day is observed by the Irish, as well as by those of Irish descent.
The recent years witnessed major parades, held in Dublin, Manchester, New York City, and Savannah. Other cities featuring parades include Paris, Rome, London, Moscow, Munich, Copenhagen, Singapore, Hong Kong, and some major cities of the Americas.
Saint Patrick's Day is a Christian holiday, which falls on a Sunday in church calendars. In the 1890s, the Irish government appointed a group, which was responsible for the organization of a national festival, providing the people of Irish descent with the opportunity to join the expressive celebrations. Thus, the first celebration of Saint Patrick's Day occurred in 1996, lasting one day only. The next day it was extended to three days and, since 2000, it has been a four-day holiday.
In addition to Dublin, the magnificent celebrations of Saint Patrick Day are held in Downpatrick. As of 2004, the parade in Downpatrick included more than 2000 participants, nearly 82 bands and performers, and 30,000 spectators. Taking prominent position among historical European festivals, Saint Patrick's Day has reached beyond the boundaries of the continent.
In 1956, New York held the first celebration of the festival, with the parade marching up 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The parade was organized and run by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The longest parades take place in a number of U.S. cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, Carbondale, Chicago, New Haven, and San Francisco.
The Greenbelt Festival has the reputation of the largest among historical European festivals, and the greatest Christian art and music festival worldwide. It is held annually in England during the last weekend in August.
Since its foundation in 1974, the festival has grown to be a significant European event, attended by more than 17,000 people each year. Among the musicians performing at the festival are world-famous U2, Steve Taylor, Bruce Cockburn, Miles Cain, Jamelia, Cliff Richard, After the Fire, and others.
The Greenbelt has also attracted some of the most outstanding Christian speakers. Currently, the festival's patron is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Recently, it became involved in a series of campaigns for trade justice.
The festival is also known for performing arts and visual arts. Throughout its history, the Greenbelt has been staged at various venues. Since 1999, it has been held in the facilities of Cheltenham Racecourse.
As compared to other traditional European events, historical European festivals have been recognized as the events of historical significance, commemorating prominent occasions of the past.