In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is a widely celebrated Holiday by Irish and non-Irish alike. Celebrations range from personal things all the way to entire city celebrations, and are a pretty fun way to spend your time.
There are many ways to celebrate, but first you have to understand what St. Patrick’s Day really is. St. Patrick’s Day was originally named “the Feast of St. Patrick” and was created as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to St. Patrick, who was a christian british citizen who was kidnapped by Irish Raiders and brought to Ireland, for driving the snakes from the Island of Ireland. He returned to turn the pagan people of Ireland he encountered during his time in capture to Christianity. Mainly celebrated by Catholic christians, it symbolized the arrival of Christianity in ireland, as well as the introduction of western culture. The holiday is a celebration of both the old Gaelic traditions as well as the more western ones. The holiday is celebrated on March 17th, because that is supposedly the day that St. Patrick died and was buried in Downpatrick. To clarify, There were never any snakes in ireland at that time, so the snakes symbolize the pagan druids.
The most common tradition is for a person to wear green. We do this as a sign of honor and respect for Ireland, whose national colors are green, white, and orange. Related to this tradition, we also have a tradition of pinching people who aren’t wearing green. Why do we do this? Well there are two reasons. The first reason is that it is sort of a “shame on you” for not wearing green. The other reason, being more mythical and fantastical, is that leprechauns are mischievous and hard to see, and will pinch you. In a sense, it serves as a warning that the leprechauns can get you!
Many families enjoy a meal of corned beef and cabbage for dinner. This usually includes potatoes as a side. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including adding hash.
Another common tradition is for people 21 or over to go to the pub with their mates. We do not recommend drinking such a great holiday away.
More large-scale traditions can be found in cities with a higher Irish-American population. In Boston, there is an entire parade of different Irish organizations. They also dye their rivers and fountains green for the day. They take the title of Emerald City from Seattle for the holiday. Savannah Georgia, home to the second largest St Patrick’s day festivities, does a similar celebration. They have a parade, but they do not dye their river green. The next biggest celebrations are in New York, which is the oldest of the bunch. New York has been celebrating since before the United States was a country. Chicago, another of the top-tier celebrators, also does a parade and dyes their river like Boston, also not as popular as the New England staple.
By Cody Grondin