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The history of St Patrick’s Day has been cemented for years as a night of celebration. Today, we tend to celebrate with lively Irish folk music, shamrock hats and many pints of delicious Guinness. It is an occasion where day-drinking, singing and dancing are more than encouraged and is now enjoyed not only in Ireland but across the globe. While it is one of the most popular celebrations of the year, it is important to remember how and why this fun-filled day originally came around.
Who was Saint Patrick?
Born in Britain, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and sold into slavery in Ireland. He luckily escaped and returned in the late 4th Century, bringing with him Christian values.
At the time of his death, he had built monasteries, churches, and schools. Over the years many stories grew, from the famous legend where he drove snakes out of Ireland to how he used the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, now a symbol of the beloved holiday (and an image often artistically drawn into the top of your favourite Irish stout).
His death was on the 17th of March 461BC, marking the day we have all come to know as Saint Patrick’s Day, however, it wasn’t until 12 centuries later that the modern-day version of the holiday was first observed.
For years Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated with religious services and feasts, with many traditional meals and delicacies being served, some of which remain popular today.
Due to emigration to the USA during the Great Potato Famine, St. Paddy’s Day was transformed into a more mainstream celebration and lost some of the religious connections.
Elaborate parades have become an exciting and inclusive way to celebrate the occasion, bringing families and communities together. Due to its high concentration of Irish emigrants, Boston held the first of these parades, painting the city green and paving the way for the parades of today.
From painting a city green to dying a river emerald, the USA knows how to celebrate! Ever since 1962, the Chicago River flows with green waters every March 17th, with crowds of people gathering on the banks to watch in awe.
Food and Drink
Now onto my favourite subject of all… FOOD (and drink). There are many traditional meals served on Saint Patrick’s Day, but probably the most well-known of all is lamb stew slow cooked with the national beverage of Ireland. This delicious stew is the perfect way to fill you up ready for a day of drinking! Serve with soda bread or your favourite doughy carb for a hearty meal fit for a Celtic King or Queen!
Those looking for a sweet treat, we love indulgent chocolate puddings, perfect for a dinner party or any time of year. A delicious mint and chocolate concoction called the Shamrock Shake is a delightful treat, perfect for the adults, with some added alcohol. However, those looking for a sweet treat for children with a Shamrock Shake can omit the alcohol.
However you spend your Saint Patrick’s Day we hope you have a lovely and safe time.