Be Sure to Wear Green to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Irish have celebrated this day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years. St. Patrick died on March 17 in the fifth century. He was the patron saint of Ireland, as well as its national apostle. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. Later he was able to escape, and he returned to Ireland. He was credited with giving Christianity to its people.

St. Patrick Is A Major Part Of Ireland’s Culture

It is believed that St. Patrick was born in the year 461. Through the hundreds of years, his life became more and more ingrained in the Irish culture. One major legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrated For Centuries

People in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17 since the ninth or 10th century. Ironically the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in America as opposed to Ireland. The parade was held on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony now known as St. Augustine, Florida. 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

In 1848, different New York Irish Aid societies decided to join their parades to form one official New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It is the largest and oldest civilian parade in the US. More than 150,000 marchers participate in the parade, while more than three million spectators enjoy the festivities. This year, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the parade has been canceled for the first time in more than 250 years. The lengthy parade generally takes more than five hours from start to finish. 

Chicago’s Green River

As the Irish immigrants spread throughout the US, many other cities created their own traditions. One of these took place in Chicago, where the Chicago River was dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The practice started in 1962 when city workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharged. In the first year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye. This kept the river green for one week. The city has cut back to 40 pounds of dye each year to minimize environmental damage. This results in the river remaining green for several hours.

Celebrations Around The World

People of all backgrounds enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. People in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Russia, and other countries always make special plans for the day. One old custom is that people wear green on this special day. School children still enjoy giving each other a pinch if they find a friend not wearing the color on a shirt, a pin, or some other object. Many restaurants also serve the special St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage. 

This year, due to the coronavirus, many celebrations have either been changed or have been canceled.

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