Every year on March 17, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s time to get your green on!
What is St. Patrick’s Day?
It’s a cultural and religious celebration that honors the patron saint of Ireland and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, the Emerald Isle. But, for many across the world, it’s taken on a life of its own.
Why Do We Wear Green?
Well, according to legend, St. Patrick used the green, three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish pagans.
Legend even says that St. Patrick drove all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea while using their native shamrock to teach new converts about the Christian trinity.
Why Do We Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage?
You might be surprised to hear that the Irish actually don’t.
The Smithsonian Museum tells us for centuries the Irish regarded cows as a symbol of wealth. The cow was a sacred animal to them, and they mostly used it for milk and dairy products. It wasn’t something they ate for meat.
During the 18th century, the British introduced corned beef to France and the American colonies, calling it an Irish dish. Then, when the wave of Irish immigrants spread into America, corned beef and cabbage became popular.
It’s interesting to note, though, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal in Ireland to this day is lamb or bacon.
St. Patrick’s Day Today
While many people do still celebrate the holiday and St. Patrick, it has certainly morphed into something else. Up until the middle of the 20th century it was mostly a religious holiday in Ireland.
Beginning in the 1960s, it has turned into what we know it now in America in Ireland as well. You see shamrocks, leprechauns, parades, and all things green.
The British Army brought the holiday to the Americas in the mid-1700s when they celebrated the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City. As more Irish immigrated to the United States, the holiday evolved into a celebration of Irish pride. Everyone gets their green on!