Don’t forget to wear green this Friday or you might get a pinch. That’s right, St. Patrick’s Day is here. Many of us love to celebrate but are unaware of the history behind the holiday.
Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the patron saint of Ireland with a Roman Catholic feast day. Ironically, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He did die on March 17, AD 461. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn. Originally, he hailed from Roman Britain and was kidnapped, enslaved and brought to Ireland.
Eventually, Patrick escaped and fled to a monastery in France. There he converted to Christianity and went back to Ireland as a missionary in AD 432. Legend states that Patrick confronted the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites making way for Christianity’s spread across Ireland.
Patrick soon became a bishop. After his death, he became known as Ireland’s patron saint. Initial celebrations were not like the larger celebrations and parades known today. In fact, eighteenth century Irish Revolutionary War soldiers held the first St. Patrick’s Day parades.
- The green: St. Patrick himself preferred a light shade of blue. Green became associated with the holiday after it was linked to the 18th century Irish independence movement.
- The Shamrock: St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity according to legend.
- Dyeing the river: Dating back to 1962, Chicago city officials decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
- Corned beef and cabbage: A traditional Irish American dish soon became the staple meal of St. Pattie’s Day. In fact, Irish Americans were so poor that the most they could afford for the celebration was beef and cabbage. Also, there isn’t any yellow corn in the beef. People traditionally used large grains of salt to cure the beef. These large salt grains were also called “corns.”
Put out your Irish potatoes
Before turning in St. Paddy’s Eve.
They will still be there in the morn
but if you truly believe…
The leprechauns will work magic to
Turn some of your potatoes green.
This brings good luck and fortune,
So just believe to see what I mean.