ST. PATRICK’S DAY TRADITIONS
Have you ever wondered, why St. Patrick’s Day has always been associated with green color, shamrocks, beer and leprechauns?
There are no time and need to ask such questions. Just put on something green and get ready for a few Irish stories.
ST. PATRICK’S IDENTITY The first thing you should know about St. Patrick is that he is actually not an Irish. He was born in Britain, in about 400 A.D. Despite being brought up in a religious family, Patrick was an atheist during a long period of his life. However, when he was 16, he was kidnapped by pirates from Ireland, states Philip Freeman in his well-known St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography. Later, in Ireland, he turned back to God due to the harsh obstacles of his slavery. He spent 17 years in Ireland as a slave and then escaped back to Britain. However, he returned there as a missionary, says Freeman.
GREEN CHICAGO RIVER One of the most unique tradition that people are already used to is making the Chicago River green during St. Patrick’s Day. The interesting fact is that the people responsible or the tradition are the members of two families – the Butlers and the Rowans, and only they are allowed to make the Chicago River green. Each year they snake under the bridges and shake the orange powder to transform the water into a green liquid for 5 hours.
CELEBRATION Despite being a religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day is now usually celebrated with a parade. This tradition was brought by the Irish who came to New York in 1762. These huge celebrations are intended to respect the Irish-American unity, show the mightiness of their affairs and prove how equally important St. Patrick’s Day is for both, American and Irish people, says Timothy Meager, a professor of history at Catholic University in Washington.
SHAMROCKS Even though it is widely spoken that the three-leaved shamrock was authentically used as a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, there are hardly any pieces of evidence for that. Mike Cronin, the author of famous Wearing the Green: A history of St. Patrick’s Day, states that this tradition appeared in the 17th century, when people wore shamrocks during the day, and in the evening put it into their last glass of whiskey.
DRINKING GUINNESS Normally, American people consume approximately 600,000 pints of Guinness – Irish beer. However, on St. Patrick’s Day, more than 3 million pints are drunk in the USA. Experts consider that this year, during the celebration, more than 13 million pints of Irish beer will be consumed in the entire world.
LEPRECHAUNS There are a few theories of the leprechauns’ origin. The first mentioning dates back to the 8th century, where they were described as “little water spirits,” state Caitlin and John Matthew, the designers of The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. The next theory is connected with the Irish god Lugh, who is considered to be one of the Three Golden Shoemakers. The last legend was described in 1825, in a book named Fairy Legends, where you can read the description of Irish drinking and smoking Fairy Cluricaune, who constantly plays tricks on people.