An Irish Tradition

Gabriella Smith, Editor

The Irish holiday Saint Patricks Day was just celebrated on Friday, March 17. The holiday is known as the Irish holiday, with three-leaf clovers, leprechauns, and partying. Saint Patricks Day might be celebrated as a big party, but it has a lot of history of what makes it a holiday and how it is celebrated. The holiday has a fascinating history, but it is hard to notice the history when America adopts holidays and makes them into their own.

Saint Patricks Day is celebrated to honor the life of the Patron Saint of Ireland. St.Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the fifth century. At 16 years old, he was kidnapped and brought to slavery in Ireland and served as a slave for six years. St.Patrick then promoted his life to spreading Christianity in Ireland. St.Patrick was known to help people understand the holy trinity by using just a three-leaf clover, known as the shamrock. St. Patrick passed away on March 17, 461; we remember that date by celebrating his life. 

Saint Patricks Day was initially celebrated in Ireland and then spread to many other countries. Ireland has named this holiday a religious holiday for over 1000 years now. Ireland’s celebration consists of attending church and then celebrating with Irleand’s staple meals being soda bread, corned beef, cabbage, and champ. Ireland then kept the celebration but expanded it by allowing bars to open on this holiday in 1970. The same year they started tours to showcase Ireland. 

Like most holidays, America adopted Saint Patricks Day. The first celebration for St. Patty’s day was held on March 17, 1601, in the Spanish colony now known as St. Augustine, Florida. That was the first parade to ever be held for this holiday by the Spanish Colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur. Over a century later, Irish soldiers serving the English marched into New York City to honor St. Patrick. In 1845 over a million Irish Catholics poured into America because of the potato famine. That brought the Irish to spill into the streets to celebrate their heritage on St Patrick’s day. In the 1840s, multiple “Irish Aid” societies were created. It was a combination of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. These groups would hold parades which they all combined in 1864, which became the official New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The parade is now known as the oldest and largest, with over 150,000 participants. Another significant thing the Americans do to celebrate is dyeing the Chicago river green. In 1962, city pollution-control workers tested the river for illegal sewage by using dyes that happened to be green. Since then, Americans have dyed the river in celebration of the holiday. Today Americans celebrate by wearing green, attending parades, and partying. 

Saint Patricks Day is not just a holiday surrounded by leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and partying. The holiday is about honoring the life of Saint Patrick. As seen in the article, holidays are celebrated in all different ways all around the world, but all to celebrate the same thing. The history of holidays is important to help understand what you are celebrating.