The raunchy celebration that is a part of St. Patrick’s Day is presently heavily influenced by Americans' St. Patrick’s Day celebrations including shamrocks, wearing green and heavy drinking.
On 17th of March every year, the world celebrates the Irish holiday by the name of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is typically a Catholic holiday in the calendar and it originated from Ireland. It is celebrated every year to commemorate the patron saint St. Patrick of Ireland. The day is symbolized with heavy drinking, debauchery, celebration and wearing green.
History of St. Patrick
Before we go into discussing what St. Patrick’s Day is, we should know who St. Patrick was. Back in the fifth century, St. Patrick was abducted as a slave from England and brought to Gaelic Ireland where most of its farmers were pagans. He was raised with those beliefs and he became a shepherd.
It was then, that he claimed to have received Divine Guidance that made him flee to the Irish coasts where he found a ship that ferried him home to England. He then took a detour via France back to Ireland. During that time he became a man of God and got ordained as a minister. He then dedicated his life in preaching God’s religion to the paganist Irishmen.
One of the reasons why shamrock is used as a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is that he used it frequently to represent Holy Trinity. The sixpenny still features him holding a shamrock in his hand. He was one of the first missionaries to be sent to Ireland and he spent most of his time in the western and northern reaches.
Practicing the Catholic Church structure, he ordained priests, divided the country into dioceses, and founded several monasteries. His influence grew stronger and he became a legend in the country and surrounding lands. Every year, he is celebrated on 17th March at his death anniversary. He has been buried in Ireland as he often proclaimed that he would die in Ireland for the sake of making his mission successful and he did.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration History
Since the beginning of the 17th century, it has been celebrated as an official religious holiday on the Catholic calendar. In Ireland especially St. Patrick’s Day is not only a time for celebration but also a religious experience when most Irish citizens attend Mass to give thanks for missionaries working around the world and the country’s banks and other businesses close down.
The Catholic restrictions on eating and drinking are also temporarily restricted during Lent and that is why drinking, the most indulgent of pursuits associated with the holiday. By the 20th century, the religious celebration also included a parade on the streets of Dublin, the Irish Capital which featured the Irish Army in a show of patriotism.
However, by 1960s the parade turned to a spectacle the purpose of which was entertainment. This turn of events could be accredited to the Irish immigrant living in America who were impressed by the American way of celebration as far back as the 1700s thus they caught on to Ireland as well and they have been celebrated raunchily ever since.
The immigrants also took the tradition all over the world as they went and now most of Europe and America celebrates the St. Patrick’s Day too. There are parades and drinking all over the New York streets where the Irish are recorded to have settled back in the 16th century.
Current St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
At present, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are far different from what they initially were. They are no longer a humble religious affair. While many people in Ireland might still attend Mass on this day to remember the great saint, most of the Irish paltry celebrate it like a big party. They stock up on alcohol, beer, Guinness Whisky and a lot of shamrocks for the day as most bars are closed on the day in the country.
The day is celebrated by eating corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage is associated with green and spring while corned beef was a staple in Irish household. Another tradition is drowning the Shamrock. In this you basically put the shamrock on the bottom of the mug or glass and pour beer on whisky on it and drink. The most important tradition is to wear green and pinch whoever doesn’t wear green.
Traditions of St. Patrick’s Day
It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without a Parade. Parades were not an original part of the celebration but they started in Dublin by the 20th century a when the Irish military paraded in the streets of Dublin. The Irish population in the U.S. and Europe soon caught on with the parade tradition and the Irish populated areas started their own little parades involving mascots and all the people participating in the fun. It is like a green coloured Mardi Gras except for a lot of Irish folk. The trend soon caught on and every St. Patrick’s Day has a parade every year in which the Irish and people of other ethnicities also join in for the festivity. According to a consensus, American people spent $4.4 billion dollars on St. Patrick’s Day today. It has become a celebration to celebrate Ireland and the Irish rather than just celebrating the Patron saint.
Wearing a Shamrock
You’re not celebrating St. Patrick’s Day until you’re not holding a shamrock. Shamrock is said to have been St. Patrick’s symbol to represent Holy Trinity and it has become the lucky charm and the logo for most Irish related businesses and tourist spots. It has also become synonymous with anything Irish so on the biggest Irish event of the year, you have to have a shamrock as a part of your outfit.
Wearing Green and Pinching
Another tradition associated with St. Patrick’s Day is wearing green. Green should be the dominant colour in your outfit on St. Patrick’s Day. It is the representative colour of the Irish and just like the Shamrock, it is important to wear green because it is tradition after all. Another tradition associated with wearing green colour is, if you don’t wear green you get pinched. If you are in a St. Patrick’s celebration and you see that someone is not wearing green, you’re supposed to pinch them. It’s tradition.
The Irish government has all the bars locked down on St. Patrick’s Day so the Irish in Ireland stock up on alcohol including beer and most preferably Guinness Whisky. St. Patrick’s Day has become a drinking day as well. in parades around the world, this is the day that most bars in the area do the best business of the year. You’re incomplete without a bottle of Guinness in your hand or a pint of foaming bear. Another tradition celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day is ‘drowning the Shamrock’. In this you basically put the shamrock on the bottom of the mug or glass and pour beer on whisky on it and drink. The most important tradition is to wear green and pinch whoever doesn’t wear green.
Eating Cabbage and Corned Beef
Just like we have turkey on Thanksgiving, the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by eating corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage is associated with green and spring while corned beef was a staple in Irish household. These two things represent the Irish culture and they are the official food of the holiday. No one cares how they taste because they’re mostly probably drunk to know anyway.
You know one of the craziest St. Patrick’s Day tradition in the U.S. that you absolutely have to see? It is the turning of the Chicago River green. For the past fifty years, the Butler and the Rowan family in association with the city’s plumbing association use a secret recipe using vegetable dye to turn the water of the Chicago River green. The privilege of this tradition is just for members of both the families. It is a right earned by birth or marriage. The water stays bright green for 5 or so hours before turning back to its original colour.
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This year, Google also joined in the celebration by turning it’s logo green on the browser and also featured a dancing shamrock. This is Google’s great innovation to participate in the holiday and celebrate.