The History Behind St. Patrick’s Day


Every March, green decorations and parades flood the streets in America. March is heavily associated with the celebration of St.Patrick’s day. Typically the history behind St. Patrick’s Day is taught in school, but many people don’t exactly know how or when it was first celebrated in America.

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was originally a very religious day that focused on remembering the missionary that spread Catholicism. The color that represented this holiday was blue instead of green and feasts were served in the morning before church. The location of the very first celebration is believed to be in Boston, but it is known that an army of Redcoats started the first St.Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan in 1762. They also started wearing green and marched to their St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. A decade after the Potato Famine, Irish people started coming to America and continued their traditions to show how strong they were.

Another tradition that was created in America was the famous corned beef and cabbage dish. Typically, in Ireland, ham and cabbage is served; however, Irish immigrants couldn’t afford the ham. So they instead would use corned beef because it was cheaper. This beef would come from China and many immigrants would go down to the ports and hope they had beef available for purchase. In order to prepare the meat for this dish they would boil it three times to try and get the high levels of salt out of the meat.

In America, St. Patrick’s Day has been expressed through large parades; however, Ireland has celebrated the holiday differently. In Ireland, the holiday remained as a formal day up until 1961. Irish laws prohibited drinking because this day was supposed to be very religious. The only place available to get alcohol was the Royal Dublin Dog Show and this was only if you were in the capitol. Having parties became popular in Ireland once TV became more popular. People saw how much fun Americans were having on this day, so they then began having parties. The St. Patrick’s Day Festival was created in 1996 in Dublin. One million people each year visit this attraction. History has shaped this holiday along with trends in America. For more information: