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Erin Go Bragh! Meaning ‘Ireland forever’, this phrase is often heard as part of the celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. This is a time to show appreciation for Irish culture, whether by those who are actually Irish or those who simply love all things Irish, as well as for a man who sacrificed much to help other people. 

Now It’s time for St. Patrick’s Day!

History of St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, colloquially St. Paddy’s Day or simply Paddy’s Day, is an annual feast day that celebrates Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland.

Many people don’t realize that Saint Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. Though his life’s work took place in Ireland, Patrick didn’t go there willingly. Instead, at the age of 16, he was kidnapped from his family’s British estate and taken to Ireland as a prisoner. He escaped after six years but eventually he showed excessive forgiveness when he went back as a missionary.

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide by those of Irish descent and increasingly by people of other ethnicities as well, notably in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and North America. The celebration takes place on this day in honor of the death of St. Patrick, which took place more than 1500 years ago on March 17 in the year 492.

Celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day are generally themed around all things Irish and, by association, the color green. Both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green, eating Irish food and/or green foods, imbibing Irish drink and attending parades, which have a particularly long history in the United States and in Canada.

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Show some support for St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy some of these ideas for celebrating:

Wear Green for St. Patrick’s Day

Since green is associated with Saint Patrick due to his work in Ireland or the “Emerald Isle”, many people have taken on the tradition of wearing green in honor of this day. Perhaps it could be as simple as wearing a green shirt, but for others this might mean going all out and dressing in green from head to toe. Costume shops and party stores often stock a supply of silly gag outfits around this time of year, including green top hats, shamrock glasses and other gadgets, often sprinkled with green glitter. Wearing green is a delightful way to show affection for this day!

Host a St. Patrick’s Day Party

Gather around some friends, family members or coworkers and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style! Invite guests to dress up in their favorite green costumes and enjoy some games, food and music that are all centered around the theme of Saint Patrick. Some folks like to decorate with the Irish flag or four leaf clovers as a symbol of good luck, while others have fun dyeing their beer green in honor of the occasion.

Learn Interesting Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

It might be fun to get a bit more informed about the history of life of Saint Patrick in celebration of the day. Learn about and share some of these bits of trivia to get started:

  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States was held in New York City in 1766, even before the US was an independent nation.

  • Patrick probably didn’t drive snakes out of Ireland. Though a legend gives him credit for this, scientists believe that the island of Ireland never actually had snakes.

  • St. Patrick changed his name. At birth, he was given the name Maewyn Succat and took on the name Patricius when he became a priest. So, alternatively, everyone could be celebrating St. Maewyn Succat’s Day!

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