Things you’re getting wrong about St. Patrick’s Day
As adults, we see St. Patty’s Day as just another day in which drinking copious amounts isn’t frowned upon. The large majority of us, particularly here in the United States, don’t truly know why the heck we get to celebrate this day at all. So sit back, relax, and soak in some knowledge of just how this joyous holiday came to be and why it is we celebrate it in the first place.
Lost in Translation
Arguably the biggest misconception about St. Patrick himself is that he was Irish. Patrick was actually born into a colonial Roman family that resided in Britain. The Irish connection comes about because he was kidnapped by Irish Celts, eventually escaping back to Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the day that this holy member of the Catholic Church died way back in 461 AD. Contrary to what people may believe, this date was not the day of his birth.
The shamrock was first introduced by St. Patrick to help preach to the Irish about the trinity; faith, hope and love, as well as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It is said that using this visual helped him convert many Pagans to Christianity. St. Patrick is widely recognized as one of the major reasons that Catholicism and Christianity made it Ireland, and the day was actually created to commemorate the arrival of the religion into Ireland.
In many early drawings and paintings that depicted St. Patrick he is wearing predominantly blue. In fact, King Henry VIII created a blue flag to represent the country when he reigned. Blue is actually still present on many other coats of arm and flags from centuries ago. Green didn’t become associated with Ireland or St. Patrick until only a few centuries ago, mostly due to the greenness found in the country itself.
Aside from wearing green, drinking green and having just about everything to do with the new found holiday being green, especially here in the United States, the biggest green of all for the day is money. According to the National Retail Federation, roughly $5 billion is spent on St. Patrick’s Day festivities each year.
Aside from eating Irish food, heading to a bar to drink a few Guinness and dressing up as your favorite Irish cliché, outside of Ireland St. Patrick’s Day has accumulated a few traditions over the years. Chicago has a St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen and they really commit by dyeing the Chicago River green. As for traditions in Ireland, everything from week long celebrations and parades to schools and store closings and family celebrations are had in remembrance of one of the most important people to ever head to the Emerald Isles.