Saint Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day began as a Catholic holiday and later on became an official feast day in the early 1600’s. It has now become more of a secular celebration of Ireland’s culture.

I have my green shirt on and I am off to work.  March 17 is on my calendar as St. Patrick’s Day and all I really know about the holiday is the tradition of wearing green to avoid getting pinched.  I know some of the bars and pubs serve green beer as part of the tradition.  I know that this is an Irish celebration of some sort.  I think the festivals are a much bigger deal on the east coast than out here in California.

I suppose the reason New York and Boston have such big celebrations with parades is more tradition than anything else.  The communities have large Irish populations that take the St. Patrick’s Day traditions very serious.  The drunken revelry is held in high regard and not to be fooled with or questioned.

Saint Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated in America by Irish and non-Irish alike. Many people, regardless of ethnic background, wear green-colored clothing and items. Traditionally, those who are caught not wearing green are pinched affectionately.  With all of the sexual harassment lawsuits of this day and age not much pinching takes place in the workplace.

Chicago dyes its river green for Saint Patrick’s Day and has done so since 1962.  Even the Whitehouse has a new tradition of dyeing the fountains green.  Keeping up with a tradition started last year at the White House, the water in the South Lawn and North Lawn White House fountains has gone green to festively start the day.

According to some accounts, blue was the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but that started to change in the 17th century. Green is one of the colors in Ireland’s tri-color flag. Ireland is the “Emerald Isle,” so named for its lush green landscape. Green is also the color of spring and the shamrock.

Millions of people will sit down to a meal of corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage has historically been a staple of the Irish diet; it was traditionally eaten with Irish bacon. Irish immigrants in America could not afford bacon so they substituted corned beef.

If you forget to wear green do not be surprised if you get pinched.  St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns who would pinch anyone they could see. People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch them.

If you happen to see a leprechaun make him take you to his pot of gold.  The pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow so don’t be fooled the sneaky little guy.

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