YORK COUNTY — St. Patrick’s day is a day to celebrate Irish heritage. Those with even a wee bit of Irish blood will be pulling out their “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirts from the back of their dresser drawers and dusting off their shamrock pins.

St. Patrick’s day commemorates the March 17, 461, death of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain, kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland to be a slave. He later escaped and went on to convert the Irish to Christianity and established monasteries, churches and schools.

This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during Lent. During Lent, a season of fasting and prayer before Easter, Catholics traditionally abstain from meat on Fridays. Bishop Robert P. Deeley of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has stated those who choose to eat a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner on St. Patrick’s Day can transfer their abstinence of meat to another day that week.

Irish pubs and restaurants and other drinking and eating establishments will be opening their doors Friday for folks who want to celebrate with an Irish breakfast, boiled dinner or a pint of Guinness. There will also be a number of other ways locally for people to honor their Irish heritage and celebrate.

• Biddeford — Irish flag raising at City Square at 9 a.m. Friday.

• Kennebunk — A St. Patrick’s dinner and concert will be held at 5:30 p.m.Friday at Christ Church, 6 Dane St. A corned beef buffet supper will be held at 5:30 p.m. and traditional Irish music will be performed at 7 p.m.

• Kennebunk — The West Kennebunk United Methodist Church youth group is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day prom at 7 tp 8:30 p.m. Friday at 1060 Alfred Road. Admission is free but donations will be accepted to support the youth fund. There will be dancing, conversation, fellowship and food.

• Saco — Jerry Sanders will perform a St. Patrick’s Day concert from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Saco Grange 53, 168 North St.

• Wells — A St. Patrick’s Day dinner and dance will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Saint Mary Church, 236 Eldridge Road. Proceeds will benefit the Center for Grieving Children. A social hour will be held at 5 p.m. followed by a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner or ham. For tickets, call 251-4009 or 850-6488.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

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