I know it’s a little late but given the recent holiday and the fact I don’t know myself, I wanted to write an article on the origins of St. Patrick’s Day!
Ahhh St. Patrick’s Day. The day where people all around the world dress up in green, drink beer, and celebrate everything Irish! Or at least a modern version of it. Just as we learned in A Day For Love! Or Is It?, Valentine’s Day started out VERY differently from our modern traditions of hearts, flowers, and chocolate. St. Patrick’s Day is no different!
Modern day St. Patrick’s Day includes gimmicky (albeit very cute) glasses, fake beards, necklaces, noise makers, four leaf clover images, and a day where no one will judge you for getting drunk as a skunk. It’s fun, cute, and a great time! But how did it all start and how far from the original intent have we strayed?
WHO WAS ST. PATRICK?
St. Patrick was originally born in Roman Britain and was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. After escaping, he later returned to Ireland and is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland’s people (History.com).
Even though he was never formally declared a Saint (Canonization) at the time of his death, he is still regarded as a Saint in the Catholic Church, hence SAINT Patrick.
The shamrock is significant because, to him, it represented the holy trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit of Christ. This is just one of several legends that have manifested around the name St. Patrick!
ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
One of the many ways we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with parades. But when was the first one?
The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held on March 17, 1601 in modern day St. Augustine Florida! Back then it was a Spanish colony. Little is known about this parade except that it was organized by the Spanish Colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur.
More than a century later, a second St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York for homesick Irish soldiers on March 17, 1772. Since then, more cities and more towns have celebrated with their own parades and now it’s more widespread and common than ever! (History.com)
GROWTH OF CELEBRATIONS
After the second parade in 1772 and over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants grew, prompting the rise of “Irish Aid” societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. These societies started holding more parades and started to incorporate bagpipes and drums.
In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one official New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This parade is one of the oldest civilian created parades and now is one of the largest as well with over 150,000 participants every year and growing! As time went on more modern imagery was added and the practice evolved until it became what we see today!
So the next time you pour your St. Patrick’s Day beer or don your cute shamrock-themed attire, remember the origin’s of St. Patrick!
Thank you so much for reading this article! Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to like and follow! Until next time!