St. Patrick’s Day. A time when gallons of Guinness are drunk, big hats are worn and four-leaf clovers adorn the houses and costumes of people around the globe.
But why do we celebrate it?
Many of us in England partake in St. Patrick’s Day traditions, blissfully unaware why the Irish National Holiday holds so much significance to those who hail from the other side of the Irish Sea.
We explored the origins of this remarkable day, and discovered some rather unusual traditions…
Honouring Saint Patrick
St. Patrick’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, honours the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, who was the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
It also serves as a commemoration of the arrival Christianity into Ireland, and this is observed by attending Mass or service on the day.
This holiday is best known for the copious amounts of Guinness that are drank, but there are more celebrations that just that.
People may attend parades or a ceili, which is a traditional Irish gathering featuring Gaelic folk music and dancing.
The date is also honoured by wearing the colour green and donning shamrocks about your person.
In addition to Guinness, Irish whiskey is also a popular choice of beverage for those partaking in the celebration.
The Chicago River is annually dyed green in to celebrate the event, although recently this has been met with some scrutiny due to environmental concerns.
And the dyeing doesn’t stop there. Scottish brewery Edinburgh’s Vault City this year launched a sweet “Apple Soor” beer to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, championing the taste of the Apple Sourz-inspired beverage.
In O’Neill, Nebraska, there is a giant shamrock permanently painted in the middle of the road, and the massive clover plays host to traditional celebrations on the week of the holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day festivities vary across the world, with some traditions, such as drinking Guinness or dressing green being commonplace regardless of where you are.
People don’t have to drink to be able to celebrate this holiday, and there are plenty of exciting activities to adopt instead.
Of course, the majority will adopt the usual drinking Guinness and green clothing traditions, but there is something for everyone to feel a part of it.