Do you know about the history of St. Patrick’s Day?

Julia O’Sullivan, Contributing Writer

Saint Patrick’s Day is a popular Irish holiday, but what is the history of it?  St. Patrick’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration commemorating Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

Saint Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland for introducing Christianity to Ireland.  He was originally born in Roman Britain, not Ireland.  When he first arrived in Ireland, he was a slave, but eventually escaped slavery and returned as a free man to teach others about his religion.  His beliefs spread throughout the country, allowing him to convert a large portion of citizens to Christianity.

Shamrocks are one of the major symbols of St. Patrick’s Day because of the legend that says St. Patrick used the three leaves to represent the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) while teaching his faith to the Irish.  This teaching tool became a famous icon of St. Patrick’s day.

“As a kid, I always wondered who Saint Patrick was and why there was a whole holiday in his name,” said junior Michelle Gordon.

Saint Patrick’s day is celebrated every year on his death, March 17; the Irish have celebrated this date for more than a thousand years.  When it first became a holiday, it was celebrated very religiously.  However, as it was passed down through Irish immigrants, the holiday lost some of its religious meaning.  It is now typically celebrated as an homage to Irish culture and heritage.

One of the most well-known traditions in the United States is dyeing the Chicago River.  Every year, Chicago uses a water cleaner to dye its river green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

“When I was younger, I was in Chicago while the river water was green.  It was so pretty and it is a great long-standing tradition,” said sophomore Sasha Bandler.

There are also usually parades in major cities of the U.S.  Although amid the pandemic, these celebrations are unfortunately not happening.  People celebrated this year by baking Irish delicacies like Irish soda bread, searching for shamrocks, and wearing green clothing.