This iconic March holiday has an interesting history.
By Rebekah Karp, Staff Writer and Artist
Have you ever gotten pinched on March 17 because you were not wearing green? Have you ever wanted it to be just another day and not the day Chicago uses all their food dye to make their river green, or the day you can get a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s? Well, when did March 17 become St. Patrick’s Day and not just another Pisces birthday? Let’s find out.
Saint Patrick, who is now known as the patron Saint of Ireland, was born around the sixth century and was kidnapped at 16 years old. His captors brought him to Ireland, but he escaped, only to return to the land of his captivity and preach Christianity until his death. Within that time, he built monasteries, churches and many schools, becoming a very prominent figure in the Irish community. He even coined another St. Patty’s day classic, the shamrock, as his way to explain how the Trinity works. He passed away on March 17, and that day became the commemorative day to celebrate the Saint with religious services taking place in his memory.
As the world grew and Irish immigrants journeyed to the United States, this celebration changed into something more secular and a celebration of Irish culture. The holiday adopted the color green, the celebratory alcohol, corn beef and cabbage dishes, and the shamrock symbol to appease tourists. St. Patrick’s day soon became a celebration for all.
So whether or not you choose to wear green, pinch those not wearing green, or to visit the green river in Chicago, we can at least take a moment to remember the guy who started it all. Saint Patrick proved how one person can really impact the world without even knowing it.