St. Patrick’s Day is cause for celebration

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Alanah Fillenworth, Reporter

On March 17, everyone knows if you don’t wear green you get pinched. But why is it that way? St. Patrick’s Day is a regularly celebrated holiday, however, does anyone know why we celebrate it?

St. Patrick’s Day, to no one’s surprise is the celebration of a man named St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. St. Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. He was born in the fifth century and was born in Roman Britain. When he was 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold as a slave. St. Patrick escaped and then returned to Ireland around 432 CE to spread Christianity. By the time he died on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Hundreds of years after his death many legends arose about St. Patrick. The most popular legend was that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland and that he used a clover to symbolize the trinity. 

The holiday was not a public holiday in Ireland until 1907. Before then it was a feast that was observed by Christians during Lent. St. Patrick’s Day was brought to America with the Irish immigrants. In large cities that were often heavily populated with Irish immigrants usually had the biggest celebrations. In 1737, Boston had its first parade followed by New York in 1762. Since 1962 Chicago has dyed its river green, even though blue was traditionally the color of St. Patrick’s Day. However, nowadays green is the color of choice to wear on March 17. Some beer companies will even dye their beer green to celebrate. 

So why did the color of St. Patrick’s Day switch from blue to green? In the 1500s, Henry the 8th claimed himself to be king of Ireland and his flag was blue. Because of this, blue became the “official” color of Ireland. However in 1641, green was used in the flag during the Great Irish Rebellion. Now green is a symbol of pride by the Irish. In the US it was popular to wear green clothes during the parades, but now it’s a symbol of Irish heritage we all participate in.