St. Patrick’s Day is kind of like the first official sign that spring is on its way. The holiday that falls on March 17 and originally celebrated in Ireland, has become a very popular holiday throughout the United States, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Great Britain, and Montserrat. Apparently, Montserrat, “Emerald Island of the Caribbean”, Ireland, and the Canadian province Newfoundland are the only places that St. Patrick’s Day is considered a National Holiday.
Here in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is not recognized as a national holiday, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the amount of festivities that occur all over the country. Many cities have parades to celebrate, with the earliest of these dating back to 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts.
There are a few cities, such as Chicago, Savannah, Indianapolis, and Jamestown, where they will dye a river green for the holiday. Chicago is the most notable of these cities, when it comes to turning a river green. The Chicago River has been turning green since 1962.
Other traditions include; dressing in green clothing, whether it be just a green shirt or something, drinking beer that has been dyed green, drinking beer that hasn’t been dyed, enjoying traditional Irish food and music, and attending a local parade.
Many sports teams have taken to the idea of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as well. In MLB, there are many teams that will wear green team hats, or have an alternate jersey for the day. The teams are all still in spring training, but that doesn’t stop them from having some uniformed fun! Many basketball teams will wear green jerseys for games played between March 15 and 17.
St. Patrick’s Day began purely as a Catholic holiday, eventually becoming an official holiday in Ireland in 1903. The holiday dates back to as early as the 1600’s, when it was simply a holy day of obligation for the Roman Catholics in Ireland. The focus of St. Patrick’s Day has shifted over the years since, to more of a celebration of Ireland’s culture. The culture of Ireland is very evident in our society today. We have Irish Pubs, Irish bands, (some of which are really good, and no I don’t mean U2. I’m talking about lesser known bands, such as; the Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, and also traditional Irish music), Irish clothes, knick-knacks, and a whole lot of anything else you can think of. With roughly 70 million Irish emigrants and descendants around the world, it’s easy to see why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated not just in Ireland.
This date, March 17, has a very different and special meaning for my wife and me. It was three years ago today, a much colder day, that we decided to share the rest of our lives together. I have always joked, that since our anniversary is on such a popular holiday, I will never forget it. So far it has gone as planned. This year, I was so wrapped up in it being our anniversary; I forgot that it was St. Patrick’s Day today. It wasn’t until I was taking Mya, (our daughter) to daycare when my wife called and asked if I dressed her in green for today. At first, I’ll admit I was a bit puzzled until she explained for St. Patty’s day.
We still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but it takes a back seat to our real celebration, the anniversary of our marriage. I hope everyone has a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day, I know I already am!