Everyone associates St. Patrick’s Day with wearing green but it’s much more than that. Over the years, I have learned there are more ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s. Being an American, I have only seen people wear green, go to parties, and hold parades in the news. It wasn’t until recent years I found out that people made a tasty dish called Corned Beef and Cabbage (even if it’s just in the States). While I spent my St. Patrick’s Days at school growing up, it was still more fun to wear green and watch everyone else doll themselves up in wacky getups, wigs, jewelry, etc (plus all the kids got a green shamrock cookie at lunch)! We would read stories about Ireland and learn more about their culture. When I learned St. Patrick’s Day was also about feasting, I was very excited since my interest in UK and Irish culture has increased over the years and I love food. I have tried soda bread which is delicious but I have yet to try boxty (Irish potato pancake).
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who was known for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He was originally from Britain but later came to Ireland to live. It is said March 17th is the day Saint Patrick died. St. Patrick’s Day was created as a religious holiday meant to celebrate his life and work but has become a public holiday in Ireland since 1903.
St. Patrick’s Day is more important on the other side of the pond. While March 17th is a normal day for people in the United States with the addition of green to our wardrobes, it is actually considered a public holiday in Ireland, so places like banks, government offices, and even schools are closed. Since it is Ireland’s national holiday, it is a day for families to observe. Families will attend mass while wearing their best clothes to honor Saint Patrick while parades are held celebrating Irish culture. Once mass is complete, they usually join together for a feast though not with corned beef and cabbage, but rather bacon and cabbage. This dish is enjoyed with some parsley sauce, maybe with a bit of mustard and some potatoes.
While people are drowning shamrocks and toasting a certain beverage that is sometimes dyed green for the occasion, I will be St. Patrick’s Day with some Barry’s Tea imported from Ireland. Pairs up very well with a nice soda bread (especially a freshly baked one that’s buttered up while it’s nice and hot. You can also celebrate with Bewley’s, Twinings, or even our very own blend.
And so I raise my teacup in honor of Saint Patrick saying this old saying, “May your blessings outnumber, the shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.” Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
A few random St. Paddy’s facts:
- Pubs weren’t actually allowed to open on St. Patrick’s Day until the 1970s!
- The color of St. Patrick was not originally green but instead was blue! That changed in the 19th century when green became a more official color for Ireland.
- Saint Patrick’s given name was Maewyn Succat. He adopted the name Patrick once he became a priest.
- The first American St. Patrick’s Day celebration took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737
Editor’s Note: Green is typically for the Catholics on St. Patrick’s Day. As a Protestant, it is appropriate for me to wear orange. But since that is not commonly known, I typically don’t. 🙂