The Origin of St. Patrick's Day
To kick off the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day celebration here’s a recap of last year’s beer school! We now go LIVE on Thursday nights, and will have more festive beer school for our 2022 episode. CHEERS!
Snakes on an Ireland
1,550 years ago on March 17th, it is believed that St. Patrick died. So every year we celebrate the death of a saint with green clothing, rainbows, leprechauns, and dyed green beer. But why??? The story I have always heard was that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland and saved the day. Well, the truth seems to be that he is less Samuel L. Jackson, and more someone attempting to replace paganism with Christianity. The mother fuckin snakes in this case were not literal, but beleived to be a metaphor for pagan leaders.
There are a lot of different stories as to what exactly went down, so we’ll focus on where the customs we have today, came from.
Why Celebrate St. Patrick?
There are a lot of different stories as to exactly who St. Patrick was, but basically he gets credit for bringing Christianity to Ireland, and around the ninth century the Irish began celebrating him for this. They would have a feast day in his honor, and since March 17th always falls in the middle of lent, it was basically their cheat day.
St. Patrick's Day comes to the States!
Like all good things, St. Patty’s Day began in the U.S. in a little state called Florida! St. Augustine Florida to be exact, in the early 1600s. Then in the 1770s there were Irish soldiers fighting for the English, and they decided to bring a little bit of home to the US with a parade in New York City to celebrate St. Patrick. So began a tradition that grew each year all over the country.
Throughout the centuries Irish immigrants were often discriminated against professionally, politically and religiously, in the US. This actually encouraged the Irish to make the St. Patrick’s Day festivities even bigger, as a demonstration of strength.
American Traditions Today
One very famous St. Patrick tradition today, is Chicago dyeing their river green. This began in the 1960s. They were using dyes to trace illegal sewage being poured into the river, and then discovered they could dye the whole river for a week to celebrate, because nothing says, Americanizing a religious foreign holiday, like polluting your local waters. Over the years the dye usage has gone from 100 pounds to 40 pounds to decrease the harm to the environment. Insert eye roll.
Why Do We Wear Green?
Leprechauns are part of the Irish folklore and apparently they pinch, but if you wear green they can’t see you!
Why Do We Drink So Much?
Like I mentioned before, this was a lent cheat day. On a cheat day you don’t get a salad. You get a bacon cheeseburger. So, you’re not gonna have one beer, you’re gonna have 17.
St. Patrick, allegedly used the 3 leaf clover to describe the holy trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
St. Patrick's Day in Ireland
Today there are St. Patrick festivities all over the world! But the place most people want to be is Ireland itself. Until the 1970s Ireland celebrated this holiday in a religious way, and pubs were actually closed. Then they saw an opportunity. Tourism. Now they celebrate this green beer filled holiday like we do. With green attire, parades, and lots of Guinness!
So, in conclusion, much like my Christmas beer school, we have learned that St. Patrick’s Day is another beer tradition that came about from someone trying to replace paganism with Christianity.
Lastly, if you ever get to Ireland to celebrate properly when you order a pint of Guinness, ask for a ‘pint of gat.’ Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Slainte! “slawn-che”
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