Fun and Facts for St. Catrick’s Day!
So it’s St. Patrick’s Day…or in my world, St. Catrick’s Day. As with many holidays that have become Americanized, it’s strayed a bit from its original roots and evolved more into a general day for anyone, whether you’re Irish or not, to join team green and have some fun. I’m not much into the big parties, parades, drinking, kissing the Blarney Stone, and searching for shamrocks, but I do have a bit of Irish blood in me and I do enjoy dressing in green, being one of my favorite colors. I also love photo editing stuff around my cats to celebrate the day.
Notwithstanding the opportunity to create a cute picture of my Jazmine, there really was a St. Patrick for which the holiday is named. Ironically, however, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family, and according to folklore, was kidnapped and brought to Ireland at 16. He escaped, reunited with his family in Britain, and, at the urging of a voice he heard in his dreams, he went back to Ireland, became a priest, then spent the rest of his life converting the Irish to Christianity.
St. Patrick’s Day started out as a celebration where people attended mass to reflect on life and the legacy of St. Patrick, followed by a feast. March 17 is believed to be the day he died and St. Patrick’s Day was relatively tame back then. America is actually responsible for turning St. Patrick’s Day into the big party we know today, stemming from early celebrations that happened in Boston in 1737 and New York in 1762. The celebrations continued to grow as more and more Irish immigrants came to the U.S., especially after the Irish Potato Famine hit in 1845.
Some fun St. Patrick’s Day facts and trivia:
New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the world’s oldest civilian parade and the largest parade in the U.S.
Chicago is famous for dyeing the Chicago River green every year for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
There isn’t an official reason why green is the trademark color of St. Patrick’s Day, but the color has lots of connections to Ireland. It’s featured in the Irish flag, Ireland is nicknamed the “Emerald Isle,” it represents spring, and it’s the color of shamrocks. The wholly American tradition also stipulates if you don’t wear green, you risk being pinched by leprechauns.
As far as shamrocks and leprechauns, according to legend, St. Patrick used shamrocks (three-leaf clovers) to explain the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit while trying to convert people to Christianity. And leprechauns have been around for ages, deeply entrenched in the rich history of Irish folklore. They were said to be shoemakers who socked away their profits in pots at the end of rainbow, with people having to look for them to get a piece of that gold, and because they’re rumored to bring good luck.
Eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is also something that is an American creation, originating from Irish immigrants in New York buying the meat from kosher butchers and putting it into a pot with cabbage and potatoes.