Features

What Is St. Patrick’s Day?

Where did this festive March holiday originate from?

By Ella Doron, Staff Writer

As soon as February 14 passes, all the chocolate goes on sale and seasonal displays dramatically change from pink and red to all green. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17, but companies sure do love to take advantage of the holiday. I always find myself slightly annoyed at the early takeover of leprechauns and shamrock, and I very rarely do much celebrating of the holiday myself, aside from the possible green socks to avoid getting pinched. But this year I wondered: what the heck is St. Patrick’s Day?  I assume that many people have the same questions, so I sought out to find some answers.

Obviously, St. Patrick’s day began in Ireland, but it has become such a widespread tradition in the U.S. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the secularization of the holiday began with Irish emigrants in the U.S. They often held large celebrations of Irish culture, but the tradition was adopted by non-Irish people, and soon the celebrations were held more for the sake of tourists than actual Irishmen. An article in the International Business Times outlines some differences between American celebrations and traditions in Ireland. While Americans often think of beer and corned beef and cabbage, in Ireland, St. Paddy’s day is defined by traditional parades with tractors and football (soccer). A key similarity is that neither country has much of a hold on who St. Patrick really was, but people of both nations still proudly sport their green to celebrate Irish culture and tradition. 

Ultimately, St. Patrick’s Day seems to have little meaning nowadays, but many people enjoy their traditions and the fun that can come from it.

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