It’s that time of year again, when everyone celebrates being Irish. Even those who are not Irish celebrate the day. It is St. Patrick’s Day, of course. With a name like Jones, you know I have a lot of Celtic blood running through my veins. I am a true American mutt, with a lot of different nationalities mixed together, but I am predominantly, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Australian (a combination of all of these nationalities too). It is estimated that roughly 33.3 million Americans have Irish roots, or roughly 10% of the population. Irish Americans are the second largest ethnic group in America, followed by German Americans.
Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? “He returns to Ireland and brings Christianity with him. He is who made the Celts and the pagans into Christians.” St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the day he is assumed to have died. The holiday originally was tied to religious ideals but now is also a symbol of Irish pride.” The day commemorates Saint Patrick, a missionary who arrived in Ireland during the 5th century and introduced Christianity to the Irish people. March 17 is widely believed to be the day he died, and Ireland has been at the forefront of celebrations commemorating its patron saint on that day since the ninth century. St Paddy’s Day started as a religious celebration in the 17th century to commemorate the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. This “Feast Day” always took place on the anniversary of Patrick’s death, which was believed to be March 17, 461 AD.
Today, it is not celebrated so much as a religious holiday, but a day to honor the Irish and Irish pride. Today, it is a festive event with parades and everything green and orange. The green is said to represent the Catholic population and the orange represents the Protestant population of Ireland. Every year on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and all across the globe. It’s the time for shamrocks, costumes, parades and of course, leprechauns.
Dancers in traditional Irish costumes.
An Irish bagpipe corps marching in stride.
Leprechauns everywhere. Leprechauns are often associated with riches and gold. What happens if you catch a leprechaun? The rule is, if you’re lucky enough to catch a leprechaun, you can never take your eyes off him or he’ll disappear. In one tale, a man managed to catch a leprechaun and forced the fairy to divulge the secret location of his treasure. But in folklore their main vocation is anything but glamorous: they are humble cobblers, or shoemakers. Where’s the fun in celebrating a humble shoemaker though? It is much more fun to try to catch the trickster who is full of shenanigans.
Whether you are Irish or only Irish for the day, celebrate the day in style and a wee bit of fun.