St. Patrick’s Day is here. Every year the arrival of March 17th is awaited to celebrate one of the most international holidays of all those celebrated around the world. Saint Patrick’s Day originated as a holiday in honour of Patrick in Ireland and was initially only celebrated in that country. But over time, it has spread to every corner of the globe.
The origins of St. Patrick’s Day
We all know that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17 March, but do we know why? Because this is the date on which the patron saint of Ireland died. Curiously enough, he was not Irish but came from England. Legend has it that his original name was Maewyn and that he was sold into slavery as a teenager when he arrived in Ireland. He later escaped and was ordained a priest, adapting the name Patrick.
When he returned to Ireland, he devoted himself to converting pagans to Christianity. Tradition has it that he was responsible for driving the snakes off the island and for making the three-leaf clover the symbol of the country. He died in 461 in Saul, County Down. St. Patrick has been the patron saint of Ireland since 1780.
St. Patrick and his traditions
Many Irish people had to leave their country of origin and emigrate to different places. It was thanks to them that the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day began to gain momentum in different countries. In fact, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland itself but in Boston in 1737. Nowadays, New York held (in pre-covid times) the largest parade of all, with an average attendance of some two million people, and others such as Chicago even dyed its river green in honour of the saint. In addition, various monuments around the world turn green in honour of the saint.
Because the colour green is another of the traditions linked to Saint Patrick. And it seems that originally it was blue, but in the 19th century it changed to green. Shamrocks come to life on this day and people often wear green clothes and even brew green beer.
St. Patrick’s Day is also a time when tradition invites people to get together with friends and drink a few pints of beer. In fact, it is the day of the year when most Guinness beer is consumed. It is estimated that the number of pints of beer served on a normal day doubles and up to 13 million pints can be consumed. And you, how are you going to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day?