The History of St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland. Many cities have a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Dublin, the capital of Ireland, has a huge St. Patrick’s Day festival from March 15-19, that features a parade, family carnivals, treasure hunt, dance, theatre and more. In North American, parades are often held on the Sunday before March 17. Some paint the yellow street lines green for the day! In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green with a special dye. There has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston, Massachusetts since 1737.
St. Patrick was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain, possibly in the Welsh town of Banwen. At age 16, he was captured and sold into slavery to a sheep farmer. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He died at Saul in 461 AD and is buried at Downpatrick.
A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish Folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief.
The four-leaf clover according to tradition, such leaves bring good luck to their finders, especially if found accidentally. According to legend, each leaf represents something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.
The shamrock was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.
Irish music has always been an important part of Irish culture. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and music.
Corned beef and cabbage is eaten as a meal. Each year Irish Americans gather with loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.