With endless amounts of beer and parades of green being typically what students see when they think of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s easy to understand why hardly anyone knows the actual story behind the holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day is originally named after Saint Patrick, the most recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, celebrating the arrival and practice of Christianity in Ireland.
The holiday is celebrated on March 17 for it being the death date of Saint Patrick. Christians also attend church services held on St. Patrick’s Day, and Lent restrictions are lifted.
The popularity of alcohol and beer was likely caused by the restrictions of Lent being lifted for the holiday and could be one reason why students find themselves chugging down pints of green beer every year.
Shamrocks are used as a metaphor for the Christian trinity, becoming the major symbol of the holiday. Shamrocks are linked with many pieces of clothing, advertisements, shakes and other novelty items found during St. Patty’s season.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture, food, parades, games, activities and endless green clothing during the holiday. Some American cities with large Irish populations, such as Chicago, go big and dye rivers and streams green to celebrate.
Green is the major theme of the season, as is the childish art of pinching in grade schools when students are caught not wearing green. Oddly enough, pinching people for not wearing green actually came from American tradition.
Boston became aware of St. Patrick’s Day in the early 1700s. Citizens of Boston believed that if they wore green, it would make them invisible to the leprechauns.
Leprechauns were believed to pinch any human they could see. Pinching others for not wearing green was actually seen as a warning and reminder of the leprechauns during the day.