St. Patrick’s Day Traditions Explained

patrick day

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions Explained

How did St. Patrick’s Day traditions start, and what do they mean?

On St. Patrick’s Day, people eat corned beef and cabbage, drink Guinness, and dance the Irish jig. People wear green clothes or shirts that say “Kiss Me, I am Irish!” This fun holiday goes back hundreds of years. But you might be thinking where the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day came from.

In this piece, we will talk about everything you need to know about St. Patrick’s Day, such as:

History of St. Patrick's Day 
Who is Saint Patrick?—Ireland vs. US A party for St. Patrick's Day
Common signs and sayings for St. Patrick's Day

Let us get into it!
How Did St. Patrick’s Day Start?

On March 17, which is St. Patrick’s Day, people remember that Saint Patrick died. Most people know that St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. There are many stories and myths about Patrick, such as the one that says he got rid of all the snakes on the island country.

But who is Patrick, and how did he come to be Ireland’s patron saint?
Who is Patrick the Saint?

Patrick was born in Britain in the year 368. He was a missionary and bishop. He is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland, which at the time was mostly a pagan country. But how did he start his ministry?

Patrick was taken from his home when he was 16 years old and made to work as a slave in Ireland. Partick turned to God and his faith in Christ to help him get through the six years he was a slave. He finally got away and went back to Britain.

The work that St. Patrick did in Ireland

When Patrick got back home, he started to learn about Christianity and eventually became a priest. Even though he was a slave in Ireland and had to go through a lot of pain there, he chose to go back and try to convert the Irish to Christianity. He helped the Christians who were already living in Ireland. He also baptized people and set up churches.

Irish Christians started calling Patrick a saint after he died on March 17, 461. But it is interesting that the Roman Catholic Church has never officially named him a saint.

After hundreds of years, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland became a public holiday.

Did you know? St. Patrick even used elements of Irish society to help people become Christians. For instance, the Irish would light fires to honor their gods, so Patrick added bonfires to Easter celebrations.
St. Patrick’s Day has a long history.

Celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day began in Ireland in the 1600s and spread around the world, especially to the United States.
Ireland is where St. Patrick’s Day began.

St. Patrick’s Day, also called St. Paddy’s Day, became a church holiday in Ireland. In the past, families would go to Mass and then watch a show about St. Patrick’s life.
St. Patrick’s Day is becoming popular in the U.S.

Even though there were a few St. Patrick’s Day parties in America before the 1800s, it was not until 1850 that the holiday became a big part of American society. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day as we celebrate it in the U.S. began when a lot of Irish people left their country because of the potato famine.

When the crop failed between 1845 and 1849, more than a million Irish people moved to places like New York City and Boston in the United States. They brought their own culture and practices, like St. Patrick’s Day, with them.

Who would have thought that the simple potato would have such a big effect on how St. Patrick’s Day spread?
How do Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

After the famine, Irish people in America held St. Patrick’s Day parades to honor their roots. Even though they were treated badly in the U.S., they were happy to talk about where they came from.

After thousands of Irish fought in the Civil War, people were more accepting of them. As Irish people became more Americanized, St. Patrick’s Day became a holiday for both Irish and non-Irish people.

St. Patrick’s Day is enjoyed all over the United States, but especially in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day traditions, have you ever thought why people wear green on this day?

Why do we wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day?

Did you know that blue, not green, is the color most linked with St. Patrick? Why, then, do we all wear green on March 17?

Ireland is called “The Emerald Isle” because of its rolling green hills. This is one reason why green is linked with St. Patrick’s Day, which is more of a cultural statement than anything else. Another thing is that the Irish flag has a green stripe that stands for the country’s Catholics.

Green is now so closely linked to St. Patrick’s Day that you might get pinched by other partygoers if you do not wear at least one green item of clothing.

And in many places, rivers, fountains, and other sources of water are colored green. People will even drink green beer. Delicious!

History of the Shamrock

Why is the three-leaf clover the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day? St. Patrick is said to have utilized the three shamrock leaves to represent the Holy Trinity—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

If you find a four-leaf clover or an extra-leaf shamrock, you are lucky. Lucky charms are rare.


Irish leprechauns are mischievous. They were red-clad shoemakers.

Leprechaun may have come from the Irish term “leath bhrogan,” meaning shoemaker. A leprechaun would grant three wishes if caught.

Leprechaun hunting!

“Kiss me, Irish”

“Kiss me, I’m Irish!” is a popular St. Patrick’s Day saying.

The Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland, inspired this term. Kissing the Blarney Stone brings luck and the ability to flatter. If you can not visit Ireland, kiss an Irish person who kissed the stone.

So pucker!

Irish luck

“Luck of the Irish” is a compliment to Irish people and Irish-named teams like the Boston Celtics and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who are naturally lucky. The term’s history is actually darker.

“1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History” author Edward T. O’Donnell claims the phrase is not Irish.

“Many of the most famous and successful miners during the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century were Irish and Irish American.Irish mining fortunes became known as "luck of the Irish." Of course, it had a derisive tone, as if to suggest, "Only luck, not brains, could these fools succeed."

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