The history of Saint Patrick’s Day

The New York City St. Patrick's day parade

The New York City St. Patrick's day parade

Evalyne Simpson, Feature's editor

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When you think of Saint Patrick’s Day you probably think of leprechauns, shamrocks, and necklaces that say “Kiss Me I’m Irish”. But there is much more to St.Patrick’s Day than that. It’s a historically significant holiday that’s very important to the Irish. 

St.Patrick’s Day was given it’s name because St.Patrick died on March 17th. He was known as “the Apostle of Ireland”. He is renowned for being the primary saint of Ireland. St.Patrick’s Day is also called the Feast of Saint Patrick. Feast Days celebrate an important person in the Catholic Church. St.Patrick is credited with developing the idea of the holy trinity. The shamrock has three leaves to represent the father, the son, and the Holy Ghost.

Irish people celebrate St.Patrick’s day a little differently than we Americans do. In Ireland, St.Patrick’s Day used to be a more serious occasion. It was a day dedicated to religion and most pubs were closed. Nowadays, the holiday is more celebratory. The Irish also don’t wear green on St.Patrick’s Day. In Ireland, wearing too much green is considered bad luck.

When Irish people came to America St.Patrick’s Day was transformed into a secular holiday. The immigrants often settled in large cities and had extensive celebrations. The celebrations gave the immigrants a way to connect to their heritage. Irish people are the second largest ethnic group in America (Germans are the first.) The first St.Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston in 1737 ( The Boston parade has been held annually since then.

Today St.Patricks Day is a joyous holiday that is celebrated across the nation. Parades are held in almost all of America’s major cities, including New York City, Chicago, and Louisiana. Chicago goes as far as dyeing the Chicago River green on St.Patrick’s Day. The parades include music, floats, and beer. It doesn’t matter if your full blooded, or 0% Irish, anyone can join in on the celebrations. Get your Irish on this St.Patrick’s Day!


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The history of Saint Patrick’s Day