History Behind St. Patrick's Day

Many know St. Patrick’s Day as the day in March where we all get to wear green, drink beer, and pinch others who missed the whole wearing green memo. But who is St. Patrick and why does he get a whole day to himself? Well lets deep dive into some history!

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. Many believe St. Patrick’s death was on March 17th, 461 – so that’s why we always celebrate on that day! After his passing, the mythology around his life started to become more ingrained in the Irish culture. 

The Shamrock

Ever wonder why the shamrock is the mascot for St. Patty’s Day? Well, it's not because of its good luck status or even that it's green. According to legend, St. Patrick would explain the holy trinity to those he was trying to convert by using the shamrock. Each leaf on the clover represented the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Fun, right? 

 

Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated by many since the ninth or 10th century. Although it started primarily as an Irish holiday, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually in America. According to records – the parade was held on March 17th, 1601 in a Spanish colony that was residing in modern-day St. Augustine, Florida. 

 

More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17, 1772, to honor the Irish patron saint. Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called “Irish Aid” societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is still heavily celebrated to this day! Although it started for the Irish, many different cultures celebrate this fun day all around the world. So remember – if March 17th comes around and you see someone not wearing green, pinching is fair game and 100% allowed!