As we know it, the right way to celebrate good ol’ St. Paddy’s Day is with a generous helping of alcohol, and plenty of green apparel to soothe the eye. Or is that really true? Here’s a little history about Ireland’s patron saint – the color blue was originally associated with him.
At least, until the Irish gained independence and took over in the late 18th century, and then it was green all the way to honor the Irish national plant. St. Patrick used the shamrock in his Christian teachings to depict the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Truthfully, the Irish themselves have said the shamrock doesn’t actually have any ties to good luck – that’s the four leaf clover you’re going to want to look for. Still, the three leaf clover has been ingrained in Irish culture, made popular by their patron saint.
Photo by Vadim Guzhva
If you didn’t already know, St. Patrick himself wasn’t originally Irish, either – a shocker, gasp – instead coming from British origins. Yet, are we curious as to why the highest number of people who celebrate St. Paddy’s Day are Americans? That’s because there are way more Irish people living in the States than there are in Ireland itself.
Photo by Brent Hofacker
Also, what’s the real deal with a traditional St. Paddy’s meal? Fact is, the iconic corned beef and cabbage recipe that we know of isn’t actually an Irish tradition. The actual meat preferred on the day of the celebration was boiled bacon, but Irish immigrants back in the day were too poor to afford pork. They got creative and substituted the meat with beef instead, which was much more readily available, and paired it with cabbage (also a cheaper menu option). The recipe sort of stuck, and was passed down amongst generations of Irish-American immigrants.