It’s March again, meaning St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. The Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17. St. Patrick’s Day was initially designated to observe the death of the Patron Saint of Ireland but has since evolved to celebrate all things Irish. People worldwide partake in St. Patrick’s Day festivities with parades, music, dancing, and many different foods and drinks.
Who Was St. Patrick?
Saint Patrick, also known as the Apostle of Ireland, was a 5th-century missionary to Ireland. Patrick was kidnapped early and spent more than six years in captivity. It is believed that these experiences turned him towards Christianity and inspired his dreams of spreading his faith throughout Ireland.
Saint Patrick was known for using the Shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. The Shamrock has since become a staple in St. Patrick’s Day attire. Some have even said that Saint Patrick’s use of the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity is why people wear green for a holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day is recognized on March 17, the day of Saint Patrick’s death. Patrick had established many monasteries, churches, and schools by his death.
St. Patrick’s Day
People in Ireland have been observing St. Patrick’s Day since the 9th or 10th century. Throughout the centuries, celebrations to honor St. Patrick spread around the globe, primarily due to Irish emigrants. Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants began staging large-scale festivals. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in America on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony now known as St. Augustine, Florida. Boston, MA, held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737. Today, the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade is the world’s largest and oldest civilian parade, with over 150,000 participants.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many parts of the world, especially by Irish communities and organizations. People wear green clothing, and foods and drinks are dyed with green food coloring. Many indulge in Irish-themed sweets and a “pint” of beer at their favorite local pub. Irish foods, including the following, are frequently available at restaurants and pubs:
- Irish Brown Bread
- Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Beef and Guinness Pie
- Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Irish Coffee
- Irish Potato Champ (Poundies, Cally, or Pandy)
- Irish Stew
- Irish Potato Soup
Some people plan a pilgrimage to St Patrick’s Purgatory, which has been associated with penance and spiritual healing since the early 13th century. It is on Station Island in Lough Derg in County Donegal, where St. Patrick had a vision promising that all who came to the sanctuary in repentance and faith would receive a pardon for their sins.
Symbols of St. Patrick’s Day
The Shamrock is likely the most common symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. This is a leaf of the clover plant and a symbol of the Holy Trinity. As the legend goes, St. Patrick used the Shamrock to visually explain Christianity’s Holy Trinity. Over time, the Shamrock became Ireland’s National Symbol, and today is often incorporated into Irish branding and design.
Many people choose to wear green, foods and drinks are dyed green, and each year somebody turns the Chicago River green in honor of St. Patrick. Although initially represented by the color blue, the increasing popularity of the Shamrock symbol led to the switch to green in the 1600s. Today, people worldwide fill cities with a sea of green on St. Patrick’s Day. – be it green beer, green rivers, or green outfits from head to toe. Forget to wear your green, and you risk being pinched!
Leprechauns have long been a beloved part of Irish folklore. At first, people depicted these mischievous fairies in red clothing rather than green when they captured
When Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity, he succeeded because he didn’t force them to forget their old beliefs. Instead of meshing their old ideas with the new beliefs. One example of this is the Celtic Cros them, and their outfits varied by region.This is far different than the green top hat, rainbows, and pots of gold we know today.
Saint Patrick added the sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross. This new symbol of Christianity was more natural to the Irish.
People have used the harp as an ancient musical instrument in Ireland for centuries. It is also a symbol of Ireland. Harpists, often blind, occupied an honored place in Irish society. Harpists and bards (or poets) played an essential role in the social structure of Ireland. Chieftains and kings supported them. Although it is not as recognizable as the Shamrock, the harp is a widely used symbol. It appears on Irish coins, the presidential flag, state seals, uniforms, and official documents.
Staying Healthy While Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day has become a great excuse to have fun while spending time with friends. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are prevalent for Irish and non-Irish people. Drinking beer, dressing like Leprechauns, and listening and dancing to Celtic music is how many spend each March 17.
St. Patrick’s Day can be an eventful, often exhausting celebration that requires you to fuel your body with the best nutrition possible. Finding a healthy balance between nutrient-dense meals and snacks satisfying those cravings is essential. Discover those foods you genuinely love to eat and cook and consider supplements to help keep your body running optimally. The right accessories can help boost your immune system, aid digestion, and keep you looking and feeling your best.
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Rick Kaselj MS, is a leading kinesiologist and injury specialist as well as co-creator of the best-selling Unlock Your Hip Flexors program. Rick creates exercise programs that help people heal injuries and eliminate pain, so they can go back to living a full, active, healthy life.