By Naomi Santana
St. Patrick’s Day is a festivity that is commonly celebrated all around the world. But what exactly is St. Patrick’s Day, and why is it celebrated? According to History.com, St. Patrick’s Day is both a cultural and religious celebration that is held on March 17 and has been observed by the Irish as a religious holiday “for over 1,000 years.”
Irish families used to attend church on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day and celebrate in the afternoon. Many Irish families today still practice the tradition of going to church on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day and celebrating in the afternoon with food and drinks.
According to History.com, St. Patrick is the “patron saint and national apostle of Ireland.” However, St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish; he was born in Roman Britain but was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave when he was only 16. St. Patrick was able to escape and, years later, he returned to Ireland where he “was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.” History.com states that the most well-known legend of St. Patrick is that he “explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.” This is why the shamrock is a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.
An article from Time magazine by Ashley Ross states that St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to “Patricius (or Patrick),” after he became a priest, as the name Patricius “derives from the Latin term for ‘father figure.’” Many of today’s traditions didn’t begin until the 18th century and the first parade took place in New York in 1762. In 1798, the Irish Rebellion took place and during that time, the color green became officially associated with St. Patrick’s Day. According to Ross, the color that was originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue.
CNN states that on March 12, 1955 the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in Chicago. Though the holiday is observed on March 17, if “the 17th falls on a weekday, the parade is held the Saturday before” and the Chicago River is dyed green “with a secret recipe.” St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide and to many is a symbolic and religious holiday, but to others it is a time to wear green to avoid being pinched.