St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick the foremost patron saint of Ireland. St Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century. His real name was Maewyn Succat. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped and returned to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. It was then that he changed his name to Patricius (Patrick), Latin for “father figure.” Ireland came to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts.

In the United States the day generally celebrates Irish American culture. It wasn’t until 1798, the year of the Irish Rebellion, that green became officially associated with St. Patrick’s Day. It was originally associated with the color blue. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the color green because the iconic shamrock used by St. Patrick which is green and Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle for its lush green fields.

Irish soldiers were fighting on the British side during the Revolutionary War in the US. In 1762, those Irish soldiers in New York City held the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade to remember their Irish roots from so far away. The parade idea caught on, especially with Irish immigrant communities in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

Traditions:

 

1. Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage.
2. Watch Irish step dancers.
3. Listen to Irish music. Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life.
4. Make Irish Soda Bread.
5. Have a pint of Guinness or a green beer!
6. Shamrocks – Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain Christian Holy Trinity. The cover has a meaning of Hope, Faith, Love and Luck. Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000.

Do you have any plans for St Patrick’s Day? Are you going to take part in a parade, have a party or stay at home? Do you want to taste corned beef with a cold green beer at a local pub? Whatever you are planning to do on this holiday, it’s all about being proud to be Irish, and celebrating the nation of Ireland and its people. It’s a chance to have fun, drink and enjoy yourself—even if you’re not Irish!