St. Patrick’s Day Traditions Explained
March 17, 2023 8:00AM EDT
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but why are these traditions so significant?
- Who was St. Patrick? Patrick was an Irish missionary who was kidnapped as a child and brought to Ireland. March 17 is believed to be the day of his death.
- What’s the deal with the Green River in Chicago? The Chicago River has been traditionally dyed green for over 50 years. The color green is derived from the green strip in the Irish flag.
- Why are there parades? The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. was in 1762. They allow people to proudly celebrate their Irish-American identity.
- What’s the significance of Shamrocks? Shamrocks used to be worn by the Irish in defiance of the ruling British class and to represent kinship among the native people.
- Why does everyone drink Guinness? This Irish stout is the drink of choice on St. Patrick’s Day, with about 13 million pints consumed on the holiday.
- What are Leprechauns? (see our other article devoted to these fairies) These little green men come from 8th century Irish folklore. They were said to make shoes and wreck havoc on unsuspecting humans.
- Why do people eat Corned Beef and Cabbage? This tradition was begun by poor Irish-Americans of the 19th century. Corned beef and cabbage were the affordable option.
There you go! We hope you have a fun day of celebration (however you choose to celebrate)!