Every year March 17, people dress up in green clothing and accessories in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
Those who opt out of wearing green on this day risk being pinched, but where did these traditions come from and why do people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the first place?
Funnily enough, the holiday that is now thought of as a chance to party and consume an excessive amount of alcohol, started out as a religious celebration.
St. Patrick was one of the patron saints of Ireland who died March 17 around 493. He was best known for ridding Ireland of snakes, according to popular legend. The most common St. Patrick’s Day symbol, the shamrock, was used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity.
The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day started as a feast day for the Catholic Church that was held on the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death.
The festivities spread to other parts of the world during the 19th and 20th centuries, but the popularity of St.
Patrick’s Day really grew during the 21st century when the holiday became even more commercialized.
Now St. Patrick’s Day is more of a celebration of Ireland than of St. Patrick himself.
The commercialization of St. Patrick’s Day turned it into the alcohol- fueled party that we know today. This is made clear in all of the Irish beer that can be seen on display in stores as March 17 approaches.
In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations take place over the course of a week and include parades, festivals and live performances.
Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is said to make you invisible to leprechauns so they won’t pinch you. That’s why people who don’t wear green get pinched.
Some people wear green on the holiday as a way to honor or celebrate Ireland and Irish culture.
In all of the drinking, partying and pinching, the history of St. Patrick’s Day has been lost.
So maybe this year, while you’re decked out in green and enjoying Irish beer, take a moment to remember why St. Patrick’s Day exists in the first place.