In the US, St. Patrick’s Day is more than just a day to observe the life and work of Ireland’s Patron Saint. It’s a day to celebrate everything Irish including their quenching beer.
However, St. Patrick’s Day didn’t really start off as a grand festivity as it is today. There’s a religious and cultural underlying history that many are not aware of. Here are the 10 things you probably didn’t know about this event.
Drinking wasn’t always a thing on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Too much drinking and partying has led the government to ban pubs from selling liquor in 1927 until 1970.
While Ireland didn’t stage their first parade until 1931, Boston and New York were in dispute as to who really started the first St. Patrick’s Day parade. Boston claims they held their first one in 1737 while New York had their first in 1762.
March 17 is the Death Anniversary of St. Patrick
St. Patrick died on March 17, 432. It was then celebrated as day of religious feast and the saint’s death anniversary.
From Blue to Green
Blue was the original color of St. Patrick’s Day as it is the dominant color of the ancient Irish flag. However, after the Irish Rebellion in 1798, the Irish soldiers differentiated themselves from the British (who are wearing red clothing) by wearing full green uniforms. The shamrock on their hats was a symbol of rebellion.
Shamrock is the symbol of Ireland. It was associated with St. Patrick as legends claim that he used shamrock to teach people about the Holy Trinity.
Tale of the Snakes
While St. Patrick has been known for his work in building churches, monasteries, and schools, legends of his other ‘miracles’ also exists. The most famous one is that St. Patrick banished all the snakes in Ireland.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef and cabbage is the traditional meal of St. Patrick’s Day. However, to save money, some celebrate with Irish bacon in New York.
Leprechauns are ingrained in Irish folklore, but traditionally they were much different than what we know of them as today. The modern-day leprechaun is in fact American, introduced by Disney in the film “Darby O’Gill & the Little People.”
The Emerald Isle
For 43 years, Chicago has been dying its river green to celebrate The Emerald Isle. The green appears magically from an orange dye that other cities tried to copy.
It’s also a Holiday in the Caribbean
Ireland is not just the country that celebrates March 17 as a national holiday. it is also a national holiday in the Caribbean on the island of Montserrat. In the 17th century, a large number of Irish emigrants landed there. To this day, their population of 4,000 mainly are from Irish decent.
These are just some of the interesting facts about this world renowned festivity. What started as a religious observation turned into a vast celebration of everything Irish.