St. Patrick’s Day


Elizabeth Whitman

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th. When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, the color green, parades, and beer often come to mind. But, there is more to the holiday than that. It all started with St. Patrick, who was born in the fourth century in Britain, not Ireland. He was the patron saint of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day is meant to celebrate the anniversary of his death. Since he was alive such a long time ago, most of the stories about St. Patrick have been changed as they were combined with folklore and legend. 

Other things associated with St. Patrick’s Day include leprechauns and shamrocks. Leprechauns were originally called “lobaircin” by the Irish. This means “small-bodied fellow.” Some people believe that the idea of leprechauns came from the idea of Celtic fairies, since they were also small people who had magical powers. This caused leprechauns to also be called Irish fairies. A shamrock is a three leaf clover. They were originally called “seamroy” since their appearance meant that spring was coming. 

Even though St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday, America has had some influence on how it is celebrated. For example, America had the first St. Patrick’s Day parade. On March 17, 1601, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in present day Florida. During this time, the area was under Spanish control and the leader of the colony was Irish, so he organized a parade to celebrate the holiday. Then, in 1737, Irish soldiers who were part of the English army were in America, so they held parades in cities like Boston and New York City. Since then, the tradition has continued in America and there continues to be many parades to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Also, eating corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day came from America. Originally, the Irish ate ham and cabbage. But, it was cheaper for poor Irish-Americans to buy corned beef instead. So, the tradition has changed to becoming having corned beef and cabbage for the holiday. No matter what traditions you believe in, have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!