St Patrick’s Day History

A contemporary inhabitant probably heard of the famous Irish holiday. Still, not all people know why St. Patrick's Day is celebrated, where did the holiday come from, and why do people celebrate it? Let's deal with everything in order.

St Patrick’s day has been solemnly celebrated for a century already - that’s a fact! Earlier, families went to church and then rejoiced in the holiday. As the fasting stopped, people could eat meat and prepare traditional dishes from Irish bacon and cabbage. Celebrating this day, people drank, ate, and had fun.

However, this day was not always accompanied by noisy fun and parades. St. Patrick's Day was first feasted as a modest religious holiday in 1631 in honor of the patron saint of Ireland.

It is worth noting that Irish immigrants in the United States started to celebrate this day in a completely new way. Since this day fell in the middle of a religious fasting, people began to use it to relax from food restrictions and have fun.

In this article, we will consider the St Patrick's Day story, who Saint Patrick is, why the day is named after him, and also tell interesting facts about this holiday.

Who Was St. Patrick?

Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain at the end of the fourth century. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by pirates (according to some sources) and taken to Ireland as a slave, but he managed to escape. He returned in 432 to preach Christianity to the Irish.

During his life, he founded monasteries, churches, and schools. His name is associated with many legends. Some of which tell that he chased snakes out of Ireland and also used a shamrock, which explains the Trinity.

Patrick died on March 17, 461, and this day is celebrated as Saint Patrick's Day.

Why do we wear green on St. Patrick's Day?

In fact, there are several reasons why green is the symbol of this holiday. 

  1. Previously, this holiday was associated with the color blue, especially after King George III introduced the Order of St. Patrick, who often wore blue. Then, when Britain and Ireland split, Ireland wanted to move away from blue and start symbolizing their culture with another color, green.
  2. The shamrock, which St. Patrick used to explicate religious topics, also has a green color and is a symbol of Ireland; this is another reason for the country's association with green.
  3. Another reason lies in the leprechauns, which are mythical creatures. So that they do not bring harm, you need to become invisible to them, and green clothes will help you with this.

Where is St Patrick's Day Coming?

The celebration roots from Ireland. Emigrants who arrived in the United States turned the usually quiet, modest religious holiday into a secular loud holiday, similar to a party with costumes.

Many cities held large and lavish feasts on this day and staged parades dedicated to this holiday.

When Was the First St. Patrick’s Day Celebrated?

The Irish have been celebrating this day since the ninth or tenth century. By the way, the first parade was not in Ireland but in the USA. The parade took place in 1601 in Florida.

St. Patrick's Day was held on March 17 in honor of the anniversary of his death. The celebration was quiet and modest like other religious ones.

St Patrick's Day Around the World

St Patrick's Day Around the World

For a long time, not only the Irish have celebrated this feast, but also people around the world, in the USA, Canada and Australia, and even in Japan and Singapore.

Since 1995, the government in Ireland has begun to use the interest in this holiday to develop tourism and showcase their culture to the world.

Many cities and countries have their traditions of celebrating this holiday, among which are:

  • Montserrat
  • It hosts a 10-day festival, including a calypso contest, a kite festival, and the Freedom Run and Walk.

  • Sydney
  • Here, during the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, entire family events are organized with an imitation of an Irish village, equipped with food vendors, artisan stalls and live musicians.

  • Chicago
  • Many people have heard of plumbers painting the Chicago River green. There is also a parade with dancers and pipers.

  • Montreal
  • In this Canadian city, you can see festive bands and bagpipes playing. Here this holiday is also quite fun and bright.

  • New York
  • This city also hosts big festivals with a huge number of dancers and musicians.

  • Tokyo
  • Here this holiday lasts for several days. The fun, which is like a costume party, is accompanied by lots of delicious food and drinks.

  • London
  • Here the festivity of St. Patrick's Day is accompanied by a parade from Piccadilly Circus, Then the celebration continues in Trafalgar Square, where famous musicians perform.

  • Boston
  • In Boston, during the period of St. Patrick's Day, there are concerts that last several days. A large number of people gather in South Boston, coming to the parades.

  • Munich
  • Here the rejoicing of this day also takes several days. These days, Munich hosts fun fairs, parades, including street food festivals and live performances.

  • Buenos Aires
  • This city also hosts fun rejoicing of this day with concerts, fiestats, live music, dances, parades and even a costume contest.

  • Brussels
  • During St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Brussels, you can head to the Parc du Cinquantenaire for a relaxing break. There you can try your hand at playing Gaelic football, regular football, camouflage, as well as other types of crafts. Also, take part in dancing to musical performances.

    Interesting Facts about Saint Patrick's Day

    Saint Patrick's Day Festival

    Like any other holiday, St. Patrick's Day has its peculiarities. Among interesting facts and traditions, we can read about the existence of leprechauns, the shamrock, and the coloring of the water in Chicago. Let's take a closer look at interesting facts about this day.

    Why Leprechaun?

    Another tradition of St. Patrick's Day is leprechauns, literally meaning ‘small-bodied guy’. Leprechauns originate from the Celtic belief in fairies and little men and women who, through their magical powers, dealt with evil and good.

    In fact, the legend of the origin of the Leprechauns is very interesting. According to folklore, leprechauns are small creatures dressed like a shoemaker wearing a hat and leather apron. They are not sociable and spend most of their time adjusting the shoes of the Irish fairies. Fairies pay them coins for this. Leprechauns put these coins in pots, which are hidden at the end of the rainbow. According to legend, you can catch a leprechaun and make him tell you where he keeps his coins - this is the only way to find these pots.

    The Chicago River is Turned Green on St. Patrick's Day 

    The tradition of painting river water green for St. Patrick's Day began in 1962, thanks to plumbers. They color the water as they sail in motorboats between Columbus Drive and State Street. For this, 3 boats are usually used, the first of which colors the water, the second churns the water.

    Since the symbol of this holiday is green, the water is dyed with green dye to maintain the tradition of green on this day.

    What Happens if You're Not Wearing Green?

    According to tradition, you had to be invisible to leprechauns to stay safe.

    If you do not wear green to scare away leprechauns on this day, you will be pinched.

    Everyone understands that leprechauns are not real, but keeping the tradition brings fun and increases the mood.

    What does the Shamrock Symbolize?

    Shamrocks are a symbol of St. Patrick's Day because St. Patrick was a Christian preacher and used this grower to accurately explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. According to him, the three leaves of the shamrock symbolize the three creatures of God, and the stem symbolizes their union.

    Thus, the three-leaf clover became the national flower of Ireland.

    St. Patrick was Born in Britain

    Even though St. Patrick’s day has appeared in Ireland, Patrick was born in Great Britain.

    After being kidnapped by the Irish, he found his faith and became a religious preacher.


    Initially, St Patrick’s Day was celebrated annually as a religious holiday. In the modern world, it has its own interpretation and features, like coloring the river waters in Chicago. Still, people keep up maintaining the traditions of wearing green clothes, going to church, and cooking traditional meals. 


    What is St Patrick's day and why do we celebrate it?

    Saint Patrick's Day is an annual religious holiday celebrated in many countries in honor of the Irish patron Saint Patrick.

    The celebration of this day is since it was Saint Patrick who introduced the Irish to Christianity.

    Why do we wear green on St Patrick's day?

    People believed that being in green clothes, the mythical creatures leprechauns were not able to notice people. 

    Why is the leprechaun a symbol of St. Patrick's day?

    One possible reason why leprechauns are associated with St. Patrick's Day is that the first mention of these mythical creatures was in Irish fables. Then Ireland reunited some of its traditions and legends and connected them with one of the main Irish holidays - St. Patrick's Day.

    Also, the cheerful and kind elf Lil appeared in the Disney film and thanks to this, the leprechaun has become a symbol of St. Patrick's Day and Irish culture.

    Are leprechauns real?

    No, leprechauns are mythical creatures.

    What do 3 leaf clovers represent?

    According to legend, Saint Patrick, who preached Christianity, chose a three-leaf clover to demonstrate the three images of God, which were connected like a stem and three leaves of a clover.

    When is St Patrick's day in 2023? 

    In 2023, Saint Patrick's Day will be celebrated on March 17th.

    June 19, 2023 — Alexandr Oleynik