The History and Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

The History and Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

Have you ever wondered who the real St. Patrick was?  Why do we celebrate with parades and big celebrations?  Each year millions of people around the world celebrate this patron saint of Ireland without any knowledge if his life or why he is so important to the Emerald Isle.

St. Patrick was not Irish.  He was born in Wales, a Roman territory at the time in 385 AD and was raised in a wealthy family.  His given name was Maewyn, though some say it was Succat, a Celtic word meaning “warlike”.  His father was a Roman official so Maewyn was also known as Patricus.  When he was 16 he was captured by a clan of Irish marauders and taken to Ireland as a slave.  Once in Ireland, he was sent to County Antrim to be a shepherd.  During this time, he worked outdoors away from people.  Lonely and afraid he turned to religion for solace becoming a devout Christian.

After six years as a slave, Patrick escaped and made his way back to his family.  He began studying in a monastery and there he heard the voice of God telling him to return to Ireland to convert the Pagans to Christianity.  This he did as Bishop to Ireland in 432.  His first church was in Saul in Northern Ireland. Patrick brought many monasteries to Ireland and was thought to have single-handedly responsible for bringing Christianity to Ireland.  Patrick explained that the shamrock with its stalk and three separate leaves represented the father, son and holy ghost, the three aspects of the Christian God.

March 17, 481 is considered to be the day St. Patrick died.  St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began in Ireland as a holy day.  The first parade was held in Boston in 1737 and in NYC in 1762 as a response to the prejudice against the Irish-Catholic people.  In an effort to promote cultural pride and acceptance, the Irish community banded together.

Today the Irish and the Irish-for-a-day around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  From wearing green, green beer, green bagels, and the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, St. Patrick’s Day has come far from the recognition of the patron saint of the Emerald Isle.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and make safety a priority for your celebration.

Celebrations Around The World

Celebrations Around The World

On New Year’s Eve, many of us indulge in finger foods and cold champagne. Just like we celebrate the coming of something wonderful, so do others around the world.

In honor of the Chinese New Year (February 8th) and Mardi Gras (February 9th), here are some fun and interesting facts on how these events are celebrated.

Chinese New Year:chinese new year
• Just like we do on holidays, People of Chinese heritage go shopping for the New Year. This is a way for them to “start fresh”.
• Houses are decorated with red lanterns, red couplets, New Year paintings, and red lanterns.
• Being this is the year of the Monkey, monkey images will appear on decorations as well.


• New Year couplets are written on red paper with black ink, and pasted one each side of a door frame. New Year couplets are sayings filled with best wishes.

• Families come together to enjoy a “reunion dinner”. Here they enjoy traditional Chinese foods such as dumplings and sticky rice cakes.
• In like of watching the ball drop from Times Square, China watches the CCTV’s New Year Gala. This Gala features traditional, folk, and pop performances from China’s best singers, dancers, and acrobats.
• Parents and grandparents provide children with what they call “Red Envelopes”. These envelopes are filled with money and are said to help bring luck, health, and growth for the New Year.

Mardi Gras:
• Mardi Gras is about music, parades, picnics, floats and excitement.
• People dress up in costumes and decorate themselves with long beads caught from the floats of previous Mardi Gras parades.
• Mardi Gras traditional colors are purple, green and gold. Purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.
• Many individuals customize and create their very own Mardi Gras masks. Wearing masks adds to the excitement and magic of celebrations throughout the city.
• Aside from celebrating at the parade, formal dress balls are planned all year long by the King and Queen of each krewe (an organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival season).
• Out of respect for this long-held tradition, several Mardi Gras krewes still kick off their parades with “flambeaux”. Flambeaux is the burning of a torch accompanied with dancing and stunts.

As our global world becomes more interconnected, thanks to the Internet, it is important to learn and understand other celebrations, traditions, and events that take place around the world.

To learn more about these traditional celebrations visit: and

Written by: Amanda Haase