By Jesmar Arévalo
Every year on Mach 17th, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Even though this is known as an Irish tradition, it is common to find parades and celebrations all over the world. In countries like the United States, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United Kingdom it is celebrated as a national festival. It started from the Irish diaspora, and now some cultures have embraced this tradition as their own.
Saint Patrick is a patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the 4th century in Roman Britain where he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland when he was 16 years old. He made his way out from slavery and found freedom. But he decided to return to Ireland in the year 432 with the purpose of converting the Irish people to Christianity.
By the time of his death, he had accomplished a lot. There were many monasteries and Christian churches in Ireland by that time. Many legends were created around Saint Patrick. People believe he was responsible for expelling some ‘snakes’ and Celtic symbols from Ireland. In general, he was made responsible for various exploits. So, this is mainly a religious celebration, but there are still too many questions to answer before we understand this tradition. What happened on March 17th? Why do they wear green? What does the shamrock mean?
While the year of his death is uncertain, it is well-known that he died on March 17th. From that, people decided to commemorate this date to honor him. Every year on March 17th, people wear green costumes and share big meals. Cloth, food, and even rivers are dyed in green, which represents the Trinity.
Besides the green color, it’s a regular thing to find a shamrock as a symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day. The shamrock is the leaf of a clover plant, which is the Ireland national plant. Eventually, the shamrock started to be associated with this holiday, and it has remained until today. The shamrock will always be associated with the Irish people.
Immigrants from Ireland were indeed the ones that established March 17th as a popular celebration in the United States. However, it is not hard to find Americans who held this holiday as their tradition. From the late 1700s, Saint Patrick’s Day has been celebrated widely in Boston and New York City. While in some other cities like Chicago, they started celebrating this holiday in 1962.
Saint Patrick’s Day has become a popular date to celebrate among tourists. That’s the reason some cities have embraced it as its own. So, if you are visiting a place that commemorates this date, you will probably be living a great experience. You will be surrounded by lots of people wearing green as well as drinking lots of Irish beer. Hopefully, you’ll be invited to one of these great meals. In case you don’t, you will also have the opportunity to go to a restaurant or pub. There you will be able to enjoy delicious Irish traditions of brown bread, corned beef and cabbage, beef and Guinness pie, Irish cream chocolate mousse cake, Irish coffee, Irish potato champ, Irish stew or Irish potato soup. All staples of Irish cuisine.
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