Friday marks the Irish holiday in which those from all walks of life, Irish blood or not, commonly participate.
However, when you think of St. Patrick’s Day many may think of rainbows with pots of gold, leprechauns and clovers. In reality, this green-labeled holiday of festivities actually has a lengthy history behind it.
It all started with a man named Saint Patrick who is known to bring the religion of Christianity to Ireland during the fifth century. This British native religious figure ironically has no Irish bloodline.
This dedicated Christian spent the six years of his enslavement in Ireland converting the Pagan Celtic religion to Christianity. Dying on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day became the well-known holiday we all know.
St. Patrick’s Day has a lot of long standing traditions of both performances, food and symbols. Varying shades of green are a part of a decorations, drinks and clothing items. Irish music blares from speakers around Ireland and the U.S.
Bigger cities like Chicago even go as far as dying their river green for the week as well as New York City hosts annual parades filled with floats and costumed goers to pay tribute.
So why do Americans celebrate this holiday? During the Great Potato Famine in 1845, many Irish people immigrated to the United States to seek a brighter future.
With that came many families who still upheld their traditions and shared them with the melting pot that is the United States. Because of this, potatoes are worked into a number of dishes.
As for the leprechauns and four-leaf clovers, those originated from the speculation that when Saint Patrick was spreading the word of God, he was using a shamrock to explain to others what the Holy Trinity was. The leprechauns were deemed more as common fable beings that were Celtic folklore characters.
However, Ireland adapted to this brand and embraced the color green, shamrocks and leprechaun fun. In fact, many elementary schools embrace leprechaun shenanigans for children.
Those in Ireland or more specifically cities like Dublin, Belfast and Cork showcase their Irish pride by bringing together the community with festivals and parades. At these celebratory events programs highlighting cultural music, dance and comedy are encouraged.
So no matter if you are in the United States or Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, do not forget to wear something green, unless you want to get pinched.