St. Patrick’s Day: History, Traditions, and Celebrations

Saint Patrick’s Day, technically known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a religious celebration held on March 17th every year. This holiday represents the death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

This holiday was first celebrated in America in 1737. The holiday celebration was organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston in which they held a feast and a religious service. Nowadays, we celebrate this holiday whether we are 100% Irish, 5% Irish or 0% Irish.

The celebrations of the holiday are largely celebrated by wearing green, going to parades, eating and drinking. Feasting on the day features different foods such as corned beef (from Rice’s Quality Meats), corned cabbage, coffee (from Poppy’s Café), soda bread, potatoes (from Yu’s Produce) and shepherd’s pie (from PhilaDing). Parades and wearing green on this holiday have always been a traditional part of the celebrations, but events usually vary depending on the city.

Various cities celebrate differently. Boston’s celebrations bring over 60,000 people into the area because the city has a large Irish-American community. Boston’s celebrations include parades in which the veterans take part and the city holds other events in Irish pubs. These events feature Irish food; the most popular is corned beef. Another city, Scranton, located in Pennsylvania, hosts over 150,000 people. Since 1862 Scranton’s parade has been one of the most popular parades. In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green and the city hosts the South Side Parade.

Outside of parades and having food just for the holiday, St. Patty’s Day used to be the most enjoyed holiday at school for a handful of reasons. Some highlights from my elementary schools days were when Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat came in with green eggs and ham and when the little magic leprechauns left us surprises in our desks. It wasn’t about the partying and the parades, it was about the magic of the holiday while maintaining old traditions and creating new ones.

Celebrate at home with your family and/or kids. Make your own traditions or take old ones and revamp them by dying your favorite foods green, making a green themed fruit tray or buying green desserts from the MARKET to celebrate that Irish background. Be proud and eat, wear and (did I say eat?) green on the 17th.