We love celebrating different cultures and languages from around the world here at Tandem. And on St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, we turn to a green island in the Northern Hemisphere with unique cultural heritage and incredible national language… Ireland! St Patrick’s Day is a huge celebration of all things Irish and is famous across the world too, particularly in places with a large Irish diaspora. It’s also a chance to find out more about Ireland’s national language, Irish Gaelic, or Gaeilge.
Gaeilge shares status with English as an official language in Ireland, but it is designated as Ireland’s only national language. Though English may be what you hear spoken on the street (in Ireland’s major cities at least), Gaeilge is the historic language of the Irish people and is steadily growing in use again through strong support of the Irish government. Some fun facts about Gaeilge:
So, basically: while English will help you get by in Ireland, a few words or phrases in Gaeilge are likely to go straight to the heart of the locals! And there’s no better time to start than St Patrick’s Day.
St Patrick’s Day honours St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, who died on March 17th in the year 461. St Patrick’s Day has been celebrated as a national holiday in Ireland since 1903, but many people in all parts of the world also come together on March 17th to celebrate Ireland’s rich cultural heritage.
Although St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he actually was born in Roman Britain and was taken from Britain to Ireland as a slave. He later escaped to a monastery and started to work as a Christian missionary, and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Over time he has become a national symbol of Ireland and its culture.
While St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland, today it is a truly global celebration. This is partly due to the Great Famine in Ireland in the 1840s, which caused thousands of Irish people to emigrate all over the world. As they settled in different countries, they brought with them their rich cultural heritage and tradition.
Although it began as a religious festival, nowadays St Patrick’s Day is celebrated by people of all nationalities and is primarily a celebration of Irish culture, language and traditions. Classic symbols of St Patrick’s Day include shamrocks, green clothing and luck - often shown by finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! Strange but true: the largest St Patrick’s Day festival is not actually in Ireland, but in New York, USA. Around 200,000 people take part in the parade, attracting crowds of over 3 million spectators each year!
To celebrate it ourselves, we’ve added some special St Patrick’s Day cards to the app for you to share with your partner. You can send a St Patrick’s Day card by tapping the holiday icon when you are in the messaging tab. Find out how to send a Holiday Card on Tandem here.
Here are some short phrases in Irish to try out with your Tandem partner or at a St Patrick’s Day celebration!
Thanks to Siún Ní Dhuinn for her help with getting the Gaeilge right! You can check out her website for bilingual English and Irish writing here.