All you need to know about St. Patrick’s Day

All+you+need+to+know+about+St.+Patrick%27s+Day

Sébastien Barré (Creative Commons)

By Emma Espey, Staff Writer

Today is March 17th, 2015 and it is my second favorite holiday of the year. Green is certainly not my favorite color, and corned beef and cabbage doesn’t sound all that exciting, but for me, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of festivity and cultural celebration. Every year, millions of people around the world celebrate this cultural and religious holiday and take pride in their Irish heritage. But St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just about shamrocks, leprechauns, and Guinness- so here are some facts you may not have known about this very Irish holiday.

1. St. Patrick’s Day is named for the main patron saint of Ireland. Born around A.D. 390, Patrick was not actually Irish. He was born into a wealthy Christian family in Scotland, but at the age of 16, he was kidnapped and sent to Ireland by Irish raiders, where he was held captive and worked as a shepherd for many years.

2. The story that St. Patrick actually banished all of the snakes from Ireland is just that- a story. Ireland has never actually been inhabited by snakes, and still isn’t today.

3. Today, the color Green is indicative of everything Irish. From shamrocks to green clothing (I hope you wear something green!) to green beer and even to the Chicago river dyed green in honor of St. Patrick’s day, most people would associate this color with the tradition of the holiday. However, in the 18th century, blue was the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

4. Irish celebrations in America today are often highlighted by massive parades in some of the country’s largest cities, like Chicago and New York City. However, up until the 1700’s, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated strictly as a Roman Catholic feast. Up until this point it was only celebrated in Ireland where family’s and communities would pray in the church or at home. But when the Irish people started immigrating out of Ireland, their tradition followed them and was adopted in America, where celebrations became more communal.

5. The first parade to honor St. Patrick was held in Boston in 1737. The first parade in Ireland was not held until 1931 in Dublin.

6. All across America, Canada, and elsewhere today, people will fill their plates with corned beef and cabbage, a traditional Irish dish, to celebrate the Irish culture. However, in Ireland itself, food is not an integral part of their traditions.