Everything You Need To Know About St. Patrick's Day And More
Listen to Article
St. Patrick's Day was originally celebrated in Ireland with religious services and feasts. However, the holiday, marked annually on March 17, has now evolved into a secular commemoration of Irish culture. Here is a brief history of the man behind the holiday and some fun St. Patrick's Day customs.
Who was St. Patrick?
St. Patrick's Day is now one of Ireland's biggest holidays. But the clergyman, whose death anniversary it celebrates, was not Irish. Maewyn Succat, as he was then called, was born in modern-day England in 387 AD. He was kidnapped and brought to work at sheep farms in Ireland at age 16. Succat escaped a few years later and joined a monastery in England.
He changed his name to Patricius ("Father of the Citizens") and returned to Ireland in 423 AD as a missionary. The clergyman was not well-known at the time of his death on March 17, 461 AD. He rose to fame over the following centuries after tales of his feats, like banishing snakes from Ireland, spread. By the seventh century, St. Patrick had become Ireland's primary patron saint.
Children love looking for leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day. The small, bearded men are believed to know the location of pots of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow. They also have the power to grant three wishes to their captors. Unfortunately, the crafty fairies have yet to be found.
Wearing three-leaf clovers, or shamrocks, is a popular St. Patrick's Day tradition. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the leaves to explain the Holy Trinity of Christianity to the Irish. Many people also seek out rare, four-leaf clovers. The leaves represent hope, faith, love, and happiness.
Everything, from the Chicago River to monuments like France's Eiffel Tower, turns green on St. Patrick's Day. But when King George III established the Order of St. Patrick in 1783, the followers wore blue. Green was introduced in the 1790s. The color represents Irish nationalism and Ireland's lush green landscape.
The origin of pinching people not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is hazy. Some think it is due to the green bruise left behind by a fierce pinch. Others believe that wearing green renders the person invisible to leprechauns. This makes it easier to catch the crafty men.
Many cities and towns worldwide host St. Patrick's Day parades. But the biggest one takes place in New York City. Every year, over two million spectators line up along Fifth Avenue to watch the six-hour-long extravaganza. It features bands, bagpipes, dancers, and between 150,000 to 250,000 participants. The Dublin, Ireland, parade, which began in 1998, is not as large. But the city's week-long celebration attracts over a million party-goers annually.
Americans like eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. The custom is credited to early Irish immigrants who could only afford beef, the cheapest meat available at the time. But don't expect the Irish in Ireland to adopt the simple fare. They prefer to indulge in bacon and lamb on their most important holiday.
Resources: wikipedia.org, usatoday.com, Fodor's travel guide, history.com
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Get the Workbook for this article!Workbook contains: Article, Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking Questions, Vocabulary in Context (+ answers), Multiple Choice Quiz (+ answers), Parts of Speech Quiz (+ answers), Vocabulary Game (+ answers)
Learn Keywords in this Article
- pzzabout 15 hoursgreen is a nice color :))
- bling_blingabout 21 hoursthat is cool.
- the-sassy-catabout 21 hoursthat would be fun! the only thing that was green in our house was the milk
- sashasscool4 daysHappy late St.Patricks Day!
- Thanks! You too!
- iceyqueen5 daysI was at the St. Patricks day parade. It was so cool and fun!!!
- adroit_avimimus3 daysThat sounds really fun!
- aemiliakloos176 daysi'm a little late but i had read this on st patrick's day!! i love the holiday!!<333
- Same here!
- elanny6 daysim 0% irish but it green for st. parick. like love holiday:']
- unlucky_45267897 daysI feel connected to Irish but I am 0% Irish!
- ajgamer7 daysbut i want the food
- student123456797 dayswho got to pinch someone
- Me! LOL!
- Not super hard though!