What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and people around the world are preparing for this celebration.
This holiday began in the early seventeenth century and commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations involve public parades, festivals, and wearing green or shamrock-decorated clothing and accessories.
It is said that Saint Patrick returned to Ireland from several years of slavery to bring Christianity to the pagan country. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Saint Patrick was born around 460 and by the 600’s, he was already known as the Patron Saint of Ireland
Heavy drinking is expected on St. Patrick’s Day: one reason is thought to be the Catholic requirement to fast from drinking during Lent. People also celebrate by dying water and beer green. Chicago dyes its river green, and many bars serve green beer. The White House fountain is also dyed green. Those who celebrate the holiday in a religious context may also hold a feast. Outside of this context, overindulgence tends to revolve around drinking.
Feasts on St. Patrick’s Day traditionally feature Irish food, including corned beef, coffee, soda bread, potatoes, and shepherd’s pie. Many celebrations also include an Irish breakfast of sausage, black and white pudding, fried eggs, and fried tomatoes.
Emily Hartnett says that she will be going to her grandmother’s house to eat corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. “I am very Irish,” she said. Chloe Poroslay said, “I’m going to eat a lot of potatoes.”
Even though it has been celebrated in the US since the late eighteenth century, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a legal holiday in the US. However, it is still recognized and observed throughout the country. To celebrate, there is a prominent display of green, lots of eating and drinking, religious observances, and numerous parades.
It isn’t just the US that celebrates this day. Many countries – Switzerland, South Korea, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, and obviously Ireland – also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and have festivals and parades.
Many large cities in the US hold big events on St. Patrick’s Day. In Boston, celebrations bring more than 600,000 visitors to the city, which has a large Irish-American community. The city has one of the largest parades, and events are held in the large number of Irish pubs in the city.
NYC has the oldest civilian parade, which boasts over 150,000 participants. Scranton’s city parade is one of the oldest and largest. Since 1862, this parade has been one of the most popular. Chicago’s parades have been growing larger and larger, whereas in New Orleans, celebrations are typically held at the community or neighborhood level.