St. Patrick’s Day

Gabrielle Rose, Sandscript Author

Saint Patrick’s Day started as a religious celebration in the 17th century celebrate the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, since he had been a Patron Saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day always took place on March 17 which is believed to be the anniversary of Patrick’s death. He was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He did escape, but returned in about 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. Many legends grew up around him–for example, he drove snakes out of Ireland and used a Shamrock (a sacred plant) to explain the Trinity.

Wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day is a very popular tradition. Leprechauns are actually why people wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day, or else they might get pinched. In the stories about leprechauns, if someone caught these small creatures, it would secure them with a wee bit of luck in addition to three wishes. With that in mind, leprechauns are known as “the luck of Irish”, which is why they are still so popular today. It’s also believed that Leprechaun’s were likely based on Celtic fairies; a mythical race of people. The tradition is tied to folklore that says wearing green makes one invisible to leprechauns, and leprechauns pinch everyone they see.  Green is also a very important color in Ireland! Many believe that the Emerald Island and the color green are linked, because of the country’s verdant landscape.

Even though Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated as a day of wearing green, or leprechauns, in Ireland it’s also referred to as “Feast Day”. Traditional meals on Saint Patrick’s day include corned beef, cabbage, and shepherd’s pie, along with Irish soda bread. The most famous dishes are shellfish, Irish stew, colcannon and champ, boxty, boiled bacon, smoked salmon, and finally, black and white pudding. There are also things you can’t eat, such as rashers (back of the bacon), pork sausages, grilled mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and eggs. Also, famous here in the United States, is the infamous Shamrock shake from McDonalds.

 “It’s a fun day to wear green, all the stuff with four leaf clovers and them being rare and lucky” says Damian Stanek.