St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17. Since it honors St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint, the main theme of the celebrations is Irish culture.
Let’s take a closer look at its traditions:
- Parades: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Savannah, and New Orleans hold large parades on St. Patrick’s Day
- Eating: the most common foods are soda bread, potatoes, corned cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish breakfast, etc
- Drinking: it’s even allowed to break the fast for those Irish-Americans, who are Catholics, since drinking heavily is a tradition on St. Patrick’s Day
- Green color: it’s incorporated everywhere. Beer is dyed green, as well as parade decorations, the White House fountain, and routes in Seattle. People are expected to wear green color as well.
The Origins of St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, was the missionary and bishop in this country. He lived in the 5th century and became the Patron Saint of Ireland in the 7th century. There are many legends about him. For example, it is believed that he used shamrock as an illustration of the Holy Trinity. This plant and its color later became the celebration symbol. Another legend says that St. Patrick put a walking stick into the ground and later a tree grew out of it.
The first celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in America was held in 1737. The Charitable Irish Society of Boston organized this feast and a religious service to honor the Irish culture, since many settlers came from Ireland. In the beginning, the celebrations were modest. Gradually, the feast became as raucous as we know it today.
Most Popular St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
- Boston: more than 600,000 visitors come to the city to celebrate this holiday, see one of the biggest parades, taste Irish food, and visit Irish pubs
- New York: holds the oldest parade that gathers about 150,000 visitors
Scranton: also attracts about 150,000 participants
New Orleans: holds the celebration at neighborhood or community level
- Ireland: attributes a more religious nature to St. Patrick’s Day. It’s an official holiday since 1903. The first festival for this day was arranged in 1996 and in the recent years it has acquired a more cultural nature.