What are Some Common Traditions and what was the True Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration?


The festivities behind Saint Patricks Day. Photo by: Maria Bates

The origin of St. Patrick’s Day begins in Ireland back in 1631. Saint Patrick escaped from being a slave and returned to Ireland. Upon his return, he was considered a symbol for bringing Christianity into Ireland and to its people. The holiday became a religious celebrational feast for St. Patrick, a Patron Saint of Ireland. When Irish immigrants migrated to the United States; they introduced the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.


The shamrock was used by Saint Patrick in order to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. One leaf represents the Father, the second represents the Son, and the third represents the Holy Spirit. The fourth leaf, if found, was when “luck” was introduced. 


A traditional Irish recipe would be corned beef with vegetables including cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. The traditional meal would be served at a musical gathering called a “céilíe”. Group dances and traditional tap dancing are common dances that one may have encountered during the gathering.


Wear green or get pinched? Wearing green, according to Irish folklore, made a person invisible to Leprechauns. On Saint Patricks Day, Chicago’s streets are filled with people wearing variations of green and possibly red wigs.The Chicago River was first dyed green in 1962 for the purpose of finding leaky pipes. Now, the river is dyed green for Saint Patrick’s Day.