LUCK OF THE IRISH: The history of St. Patrick’s Day

CHLOE MARTINEZ and KELLEY PERRY

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St. Patrick’s Day  is Thursday and many people will be wearing green. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the Roman Catholic feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D. But did you know that he wasn’t even Irish?

St. Patrick’s real name is Maewyn. He was born in Roman Britain, and he was kidnapped into slavery and brought to Ireland. He escaped to a monastery in Gaul (France) and converted to Christianity.

Maewen went back to Ireland in 432 as a missionary. While Christianity had already taken hold in the country, tradition has it that Patrick confronted the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites, making Christianity more widespread.

Patrick became a bishop and after his death was named Ireland’s patron saint. Celebrations in Ireland were understated though. When the Irish emigrated to the U.S., they created the bigger celebrations and parades known today.

happy_saint_patricks_day_classic_round_sticker-r059e35aa30964ec4a059d728d20cb1c8_v9waf_8byvr_324Eighteenth century Irish soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War held the first St. Patrick Day parades. The celebrations became a way for the Irish to connect with their roots after they moved to America. Today, major St. Patrick’s Day parades are held in large cities such as New York (the biggest in the U.S.) and Chicago. Dallas even hosts a parade each year.

Here are some fun facts about the green day:  

THE SHAMROCK:

According to legend St. Patrick used the three leaf clover (or shamrock) to explain the Trinity.

DYEING RIVERS GREEN:

The practice of dyeing the river green started in Chicago in 1962, when city officials decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green.

CORN AND CABBAGE:

This is an Irish American dish. Some Irish Americans were so poor they could not afford certain meals. On St. Patrick’s Day, the best meal they could afford was beef and cabbage. It became a staple for the holiday.

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LUCK OF THE IRISH: The history of St. Patrick’s Day