Irish I Knew More about St. Patrick’s Day


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Hand drawn St. Patricks Day logotype. Vector lettering typography with leprechaun’s hat and clovers on white background. Festive design for print, poster, flyer, party invitation, icon, badge, sign

Kaitlyn D. and Luigina I.

Do any of you know the true meaning behind Saint Patrick’s Day? For us, it has always been an excuse to get shamrock shakes from McDonalds, wear green, and eat corn beef and cabbage.

However, it is truly about a man named (as you would guess) Saint Patrick who was kidnapped at the age 16 from Roman Britain, his birthplace, and taken to Ireland as a slave. He did manage to escape slavery and in approximately 432 CE he returned back to Ireland and converted the nation to Christianity. We now celebrate his life on March 17th since that was the day he passed away in 461. Records point to his death being related to old age.

The most popular food we eat on this little-known holiday is corn beef and cabbage. This arose from the fact that those foods were less expensive during the time of poverty. The Irish substituted corn beef for bacon and cabbage for potatoes. Cabbage was simply the cheapest vegetable for immigrants who came to America. Corn beef is made from brisket which is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat. To be cooked, the corn beef goes through a long curing process and is cooked with corn salt. Overall, these two foods together make a scrumptious meal. 

So then why do we wear green? Wearing green actually has to do with leprechauns.  The old folktales tell us that wearing green on St. Patrick’s day makes us invisible to leprechauns who are said to like to pinch us due to their distaste for humans. Additionally, we have all been told that there is a pot of gold hidden where the end of any rainbow touches the earth. According to ancient folklore, leprechauns found abandoned gold, and then buried it again so no human could ever find it because of their contempt for human beings.

Furthermore, we have all been told that Saint Patrick’s Day involves shamrocks/4 leaf clovers which are thought to bring luck and protection. The reason for this is because in Ireland’s earlier days, Celtic priests known as Druids carried four leaf clovers in the belief that with the help of them they could see evil spirits approaching. They were resultantly presumed to “offer magical protection and ward off bad luck.”

Lastly, most adult celebrations of the holiday include Celtic music and engaging in the consumption of of beverages and other foods that are restricted all other days during the Lenten season, a special way to honor St. Patrick’s death.  

So today, as we celebrate this holiday, let us all remember the man it’s about and the reasons behind all the fun things we do including eating those delicious shamrock shakes!