Happy St. Patrick's Day! History, Tradition and Irish-American Culture
Saint patrick's day:
We dress up in costume, drink green beer and get into some interesting shenanigans, but do we know the history behind this holiday?
history of st. patrick:
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave.
He is known to have escaped, but returned to Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to the country.
Origins of st. Patrick's day parade:
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in America on March 17, 1601 in Florida.
In 1848, New York Irish societies formed the official New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the world‘s oldest civilian parade. It has become the largest parade in the United States hosting over 150,000 participants and 3-million onlookers.
four and five leaf clovers:
Did you know there are also 5-leaf clovers?! They are said to bring even more luck!
Odds of finding a 4-leaf clover: 10,000 to 1
Odds of finding a 5-leaf clover: 1,000,000 to 1
four leaf clover and finding luck on st. patrick's day:
The legend of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of the Irish clover, also known as the shamrock!
In Irish tradition, finding a four-leaf clover brings luck to the finder as each leaf symbolizes faith, hope, love, and luck.
why green beer for st. patrick's day?
The colorful green beer is actually not an Irish tradition, but an American one. It’s an innovation that surprisingly requires quite a lot of blue food dye. The blue mixes with the yellow color of beer to make a bright green color.
In 1910, the Spokane Press was the first to promote: “Green Beer Be Jabbers!” A bar on First Avenue in Spokane started serving patriotic green beers to fellow Irishmen.
Green beers can bring one helluva hangover and if you’re not careful, puking up green beer and glitter sprinkled on you by other celebratory partygoers can really ruin your St. Patty’s Day evening!
Originally, a hundred pounds of green dye was dumped into the river, turning the river green for an entire week.
Since then, they have worked on perfecting the process and today, the river is dyed using only 40 pounds of environmentally friendly dye, keeping the river green for only four or five hours.
Dyeing the Chicago River Green for St. Patrick's Day:
The unique tradition of dyeing the Chicago River GREEN began in 1961. Stephen Bailey, the manager of a Chicago Plumbers’ Union witnessed a plumber’s white overalls stained from the fluorescein dye that was used to detect plumbing leaks and pollution in the Chicago River.
Bailey thought dyeing the entire river for St. Patrick’s Day was a great idea, and thus this tradition started in 1962.
St. Patrick's Day Conclusion:
Hopefully now you understand more of the history and origins surrounding the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day!
Good luck and happy clover-hunting to all you green-beer guzzling, glitter-wearing, leprechaun-loving, mischief-makers out there!
THE WAVY BUNCH