I.     Who Was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick

St. Patrick was not actually Irish!  Patrick was a nobleman born in about 400 A.D. in Britain and kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16.  Patrick was born into a religious family, but was an atheist early in his life. However, he rediscovered his faith while enslaved in Ireland,

After 17 years as a slave, St. Patrick escaped Ireland and found his way home, but returned to Ireland as a missionary.  In order to make his mission successful, he said that he was prepared to die in Ireland.

It’s unclear if St. Patrick did in fact die in Ireland, but March 17 is widely believed to be the day of his death.

II.     St. Patrick’s Day Traditions

a.     Parades

St. Patrick's Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday in Ireland but became a celebratory affair because of Irish Americans.

In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated with banquets at elite clubs in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.

New York City hosted the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762, and by the mid-19th century parades were commonplace.

b.     Shamrocks


 According to St. Patrick’s Day lore, Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Today, St. Patrick’s Day revelers wear a shamrock out of tradition.

c.     Drinking Lots of Guinness


The Irish stout is the drink of choice on St. Patrick’s Day.

On a typical day, Americans drink about 600,000 pints of the Dublin-based beer. But on St. Patrick’s Day, about 3 million pints of Guinness are downed, according an article in USA TODAY.

Planning on drinking a pint on St. Patrick’s Day? Tips from Guinness on the perfect pour: Tilt the glass at 45 degrees when pouring until it is three-quarters full, then let the beer settle before filling the glass completely to the top.

Analysts are predicting that 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide, during this year’s holiday.

d.     Leprechauns


Today’s leprechauns, usually rosy-cheeked, boozy little men in green attire, come from Irish folklore.

The first recorded mention of a leprechaun goes back to the 8th century, coming from the word luchorpán, meaning “little body” to describe water spirits, according to John and Caitlin Matthews in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures.

Another possible origin is the Irish god Lugh, whose Welch variant is known as one of the “Three Golden Shoemakers.”

There’s also the Irish fairy Cluricaune, “a cunning spirit who haunts cellars, drinks, smokes and plays tricks,” the Matthewses write. Cluricaune was popularized in a 1825 publication called Fairy Legends.

e.     Wearing Green

On St Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories (the “wearing of the green”), the colour associated with Catholics in Ireland.  The color green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s.  The Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, an Irish fraternity founded in about 1750, adopted green as its color.

During the 1790s, green would become associated with Irish nationalism, due to its use by the United Irishmen. This was a republican organization—led mostly by Protestants but with many Catholic members—who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the color green and its association with St Patrick’s Day grew.

III.     St. Patrick’s Day Outfits

What type of outfit will you be in the mood for on St. Patrick’s Day?  Casual and fun? A little bit more dressy?  I’ve put together collages of casual jumpsuits, dressy dresses, and I also included The Duchess of Cambridge’s (Kate Middleton) outfit for St. Patrick’s Day from last year.  Take your pick!St. Patrick's Day - Dressy

St. Patrick's Day - Dressy

St. Patrick's Day - Kate Middleton

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St. Patrick's Day

If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, how will you celebrate?