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Celebrate Sheelah’s Day: The First Feminist

Celebrate St Patrick and Sheelah's Day
Sheelah’s Day is an ancient Irish festival that celebrates the harvest season and the power of women. It is marked by traditional food, bonfires, and a spirit of community and empowerment.

St Patrick’s Day and Sheelah’s Day were originally one festival of pagan origins that was once a three-day celebration that ended on March 18 – Sheelah’s Day.

I am so in love with Sheelah it is hard to describe. She is literally one of the unsung heroes of European folklore and, maybe, just maybe, the first feminist. I am going to describe the context of Sheelah by starting off by describing St Patrick.

Read more articles on the Ancient Ways to live a modern life. Spreading awareness of all religions celebrations and connecting with the ways of the Ancients and ancestors is very close to my heart.

What is St Patrick’s Day?

Celebrate St Patrick and Sheelah's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a significant cultural and religious holiday celebrated on the 17th of March every year, primarily in Ireland and among Irish diaspora around the world. The day marks the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who is remembered for spreading Christianity throughout Ireland during the fifth century.

What is the History of St Patrick’s Day?

The history of St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the early seventeenth century when it was first observed as a religious feast day by the Catholic Church in Ireland. However, the day evolved over time and became a public holiday and cultural festival celebrated by people of various backgrounds, communities, and religions.

Despite its popularity, the holiday’s origin and the life of St. Patrick are shrouded in myth and legend. It is believed that St. Patrick was born in Britain in the late fourth century, kidnapped as a teenager, and taken to Ireland as a slave. During his captivity, he became a devout Christian and dedicated his life to spreading Christianity in Ireland.

St. Patrick is believed to have used the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people, thus making it an essential symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. Today, St. Patrick’s Day remains a colourful celebration of Irish heritage and culture, drawing people from all walks of life to join in the festivities.

How do People Celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

The festivities of St. Patrick’s Day include parades, dances, wearing green clothing, feasting, and traditional Irish music. The holiday has become a global celebration with millions of people in various countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and Britain, participating in the festivities.

People wear green on St. Patrick’s Day because it is the traditional colour associated with Ireland, where St. Patrick is from. In addition, wearing green is said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. Green also represents the lush green landscape of Ireland, which is sometimes referred to as the Emerald Isle.

Who is Sheelah?

Sheelah’s Day, also Sheelagh’s Day, is an ancient Irish festival that is celebrated on the March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day. The exact origin and meaning of the festival are not fully clear. Some sources suggest that Sheelah was a goddess of fertility, while others think that the festival is linked to the Celtic harvest season.

According to Irish folklore and mythology, Sheelah was either St. Patrick’s wife or mother, and the holiday commemorated her life.

What is Sheelah’s Day?

Sheelah’s Day was traditionally observed the day after St. Patrick’s Day, coinciding with Christian festivities.

St. Patrick’s wife is mentioned in Irish antiquarian journals and newspapers from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sheelah’s Day was mentioned in the Freeman’s Journal in 1785, 1811, and 1841. Sheelah’s Day celebrations in Australia were documented in the nineteenth century, including the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. (As an Aussie, I find this point hilarious).

Sheelah’s Day is no longer officially observed in Ireland, but it is still observed in Newfoundland, Canada, where Irish immigrants arrived in the late 17th century.

The holiday may also be associated with the legend of the Irish princess Sheila NaGeira in Newfoundland. Some scholars believe the holiday is related to the Sheela na gig, which can be found in mediaeval architecture throughout Europe.

Celebrate Sheelah's Day - sculpture of sheela na gig
Sheelah Na Gig Sculpture
Sheela na gigs are figurative carvings of naked women with a prominent vulva. They are architectural grotesques found on cathedrals, castles, and other structures throughout most of Europe. The highest concentrations can be found in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain, sometimes in conjunction with male figures. Ireland has the most Sheela na gig carvings that have survived.

How do People Celebrate Sheelah’s Day?

One of the main features of Sheelah’s Day is the Sheelah’s Cake, a traditional Irish cake made with oatmeal, treacle, and butter, among other ingredients. The cake is usually baked by women, and it is said to bring good luck to those who eat it. There is also a tradition of Bannocks, which are small cakes made by men.

Another important aspect of the festival is the Sheelah’s Curse. In this tradition, people would gather around a bonfire, and the oldest woman in the community would cast a curse on anyone who failed to pay their debts or mistreated their family. This curse was believed to be very powerful and was taken seriously by the community. (I love Ireland!)

Sheelah the First Feminist

There is also a belief that Sheelah’s Day is a time when women can freely express themselves and voice their opinions. Women are allowed to speak out against injustices and unfair treatment, and they are respected for their ideas and opinions. This spirit of female empowerment is an important part of the festival’s legacy.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Sheelah’s Day, and efforts are being made to revive some of its traditions. The festival is seen as an important aspect of Ireland’s cultural heritage, and it is celebrated by people across the country.

Overall, Sheelah’s Day is an ancient Irish festival that celebrates the harvest season and the power of women. It is marked by traditional food, bonfires, and a spirit of community and empowerment.

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Jessie LV

Jessie LV is a professional writer in a wide array of genres including content writing, professional writing and creative writing. She foundered Donc Voilà Quoi while living in Tours, France in 2015 when she fell in love with the phrase. When she isn't writing you'll find her out and about in nature, watching whodunit's or cooking up a storm. For writing inquiries please email on

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