Every year, millions of people in the United States celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and people see the annual holiday as a pot of gold for drinking, celebrating and socializing, decorated with the color green.
While St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17 each year on the anniversary of the saint’s death, is of great importance to the Irish community, many of the traditions celebrated both in America and around the world have little basis in Irish culture.
In many traditions, the green color of St. Patrick’s Day has been colored with lots of red, white, and blue.
St. Patty’s Day or St. Paddy’s Day?
The term “St. Patty’s Day” has become common colloquialism in the United States for St. Patrick’s Day. The shortening of the name most likely came from the nickname “Patty,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but the name is technically incorrect in Irish culture.
In Ireland, the name Patty is short for Patricia, and the name Patrick is the anglicized form of Padraig. Saint Padraig was born in Great Britain before being brought to Ireland as a prisoner and eventually introducing Christianity to Ireland, earning him the honor of Ireland’s most prominent patron saint.
If you go
What: Paddy Hugh’s advice
If: 12:30-1:30 p.m. Friday
Where: View on Main Street between 24th and McLaughlin Streets in Vancouver.
Technically, this means that the name of the holiday is St. Padraig’s Day, which in turn is St. Paddy’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day drinking originated in America
St. Patrick’s Day is the third drunkest day in America, according to a poll of more than 1,000 people by alcohol.org.
But drinking was never part of the original holiday in Ireland. In fact, it was Irish immigrants in the United States who first incorporated pageants into the proceedings, celebrating their Irish culture together despite being so far from home.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade—another American creation—was held in Boston in 1737, and other U.S. cities soon followed suit. In fact, for most of the holiday’s existence in Ireland, local pubs were closed to people to observe the holiday due to its religious nature, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that pubs remained open in Ireland as the country followed suit in its celebrations together from the rest of the world.
The Irish never ate corned beef
The closer we get to St. Patrick’s Day, the more you’ll be seeing “traditional” Irish corned beef and cabbage on US menus
But the Irish never ate beef – beef wasn’t widely available for most of Ireland’s history, so the traditional meal consisted of Irish bacon and cabbage instead.
But when Irish expats to the United States arrived on the East Coast, corned beef was one of the easiest and cheapest types of meat available to people. Consequently, Irish bacon was quickly replaced by corned beef among Irish Americans.
Wearing green also originated in America
St. Patrick’s Day remained a religious holiday in Ireland until the mid-to-late 1900s, but wearing green entered America around the same time the parades began, in the early 1700s.
The color green was worn for several reasons. One of the earliest reasons was that revelers thought that wearing green would make them invisible to leprechauns, who, according to legend, pinch people who aren’t wearing green (and thus aren’t invisible).
Green is also worn on St. Patrick’s Day because of the green stripe on the Irish flag. The flag of Ireland has three stripes: green represents Roman Catholics, orange represents Protestants, and the white stripe in the middle represents peace between the two groups.
Because St. Patrick’s Day is a Christian holiday, the color green was taken from the flag.
Irish car bombs
The Irish car bomb is a famous picture in the United States that is taken all year round, but especially on St. Patrick’s Day. The shot consists of half an ounce of Irish whiskey and Bailey’s Irish cream and is topped with Guinness.
The name comes from a weapon that the Irish Republican Army often used against their enemies in Northern Ireland during the 1900s. The IRA sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland and was considered a popular outsider movement until July 1972, when 22 car bombs exploded in Northern Ireland, killing nine people and injuring 130 others.
While the shot may be a popular drink in the US, not many places in Ireland would take kindly to someone ordering an “Irish car bomb”.