Saint Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us. Many people simply use the day as an excuse to suck down some green suds with their buddies, dress in green clothing and act a little goofy, however to others the day is a day of Celebration of Irish Heritage. So I dug around and looked up some interesting facts about Saint Patrick’s Day and I also reviewed the original meaning of Saint Patrick’s Day.
The reason Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th is because this is the date Saint Patrick, the foremost patron Saint of Ireland, passed away. Originally the holiday began as a religious celebration. Saint Patrick’s claim to fame was how successful he was at converting the pagan Irish people over to Christianity. When he passed away the Irish began celebrating his honor by having a day of feast, thus became the beginning of many Irish Traditions. (This is not a celebration day for Pagans, but a day of sadness)
A few facts about the Irish and Saint Patrick that I learned while reading up on the history of Saint Patrick’s Day.
- Until 2015, LGBT Groups were not allowed to march in Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parades, and only one year earlier were they finally allowed to march in New York City Parades.
- Saint Patrick used the three leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.
- St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was from Wales.
- Every year, the leader in Ireland hands a crystal bowl full of shamrock to the US President. The shamrock, grown in Kerry, is immediately destroyed by the Secret Service after the exchange.
So What About that Green Beer?
Saint Patrick’s Day is often viewed as a day of people consuming copious amounts of alcohol, often drinking things such as green beer. A doctor named Dr. Thomas Curtin of the Bronx is said to have been the person who first colored beer green for the St. Paddy’s day celebration back in 1914. Many believe the inspiration of the green beer was due to the centuries old Irish custom known as “drowning the Shamrock” in which people would add green shamrocks to their drinks on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Lastly where did the tradition of drinking large amounts of alcohol on St. Paddy’s day came from? Many religions have a period called Lent. Lent is forty days of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. Saint Patrick’s Day happens to be observed during Lent. Many religions would lift the Lenten restrictions for the day since Saint Patrick’s Day was originally meant to be a day of feast. Since the restrictions that prohibited drinking were lifted for the day, people would take advantage of the day to get their fill on alcohol beverages before returning to the preparation of Easter by fasting and prayer.
So there you have it. Convert everyone to Christianity, or Drink some Green Beer! Personally i will pick the later.
Peace, love and happiness – Pragma