The Origin of St. Patrick’s Day

The Origin of St. Patricks Day

Renee Chua

With St. Patrick’s Day being just around the corner, you may begin to wonder how the holiday came to be. For over one thousand years, the Irish have celebrated the holiday on March 17, which is the anniversary of the death of the patron saint. This religious holiday always occurs during the season of Lent. During this time, fasting is particularly important, but the Irish deemed St. Patrick’s day to be an exception. Irish families would typically attend church in the morning then begin their celebrations in the afternoon.

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and he is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people. There is a legend that he used the three leaf clover, the unofficial national flower of Ireland, to explain the Holy Trinity. Due to this, the shamrock became a symbol for the Holy Trinity. To celebrate the Saint’s feast day, the Irish would pin a clover to their clothing. Now, celebrations of this holiday in the United States are filled with the famous green clover.

When the Irish emigrated to the US, St. Patrick’s day became widely celebrated in the country. The Irish held a substantial amount of political power; therefore, cities with large Irish populations had the most extravagant celebrations and parades to celebrate everything Irish. Although St. Patrick’s day is not a federal holiday in the US, it is celebrated on a larger scale than it is in Ireland.

Each year on March 17th, the color green is popularly worn, but the original color associated with the holiday was blue. Starting in the late 18th century, the Irish people developed a resentment for the British crown. In order to rebel against against the crown, the Irish utilized the green color of the shamrock to mark their own identity. Because of this, the color green became widely used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and since 1962, Chicago has dyed its river green to commemorate the holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day originated as a religious holiday to celebrate St. Patrick, but it evolved into a holiday that is celebrated throughout the world. However, in the late 21st century, the Irish government began to use the holiday to being tourists to Ireland and showcase Irish culture to all people.