Wear green or get pinched


March may feel like an exceptionally long month to most, spanning about five weeks with no days off from school or work; however, much like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the month contains a hidden gem. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated on March 17 in its origin country, Ireland, since 1631 when the Catholic Church first recognized the holiday. It was one of the many traditions settlers brought over to the American colonies, beginning their holiday celebrations before the United States was even formed.  

Saint Patrick was one of Ireland’s patron saints in the 13th century and is believed to have died on March 17. The day is honored as a commemoration of Irish heritage, originating as a feast, much like Thanksgiving. Contrary to popular belief, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in America in 1601 before it was cited as a national holiday in Ireland. Although it is not a nationally established holiday in the United States, most American citizens celebrate it every March.  

“America is a country that has various cultures embedded within it that makes us so unique, and in the case of St. Patrick’s Day, we celebrate what we have gained from the Irish community. This also helps the Irish community feel a sense of appreciation for their culture in America,” Sydney Gwynn, senior, said.  

One may wonder, however, why it is so proudly acknowledged in the United States when the true Irish population in America has diminished significantly over the years. It is safe to assume that Americans simply cannot resist an excuse to party. Many historic settlement places in the states hold parades annually, such as Savannah, Georgia and New York City. People don the color green in favor of the shamrock leaf, which symbolizes the day, and tend to overindulge in alcohol as St. Patrick’s Day was one of the few times the Catholic Church made the substance legal during its temperance. It has become a superstition for people to wear green in order to avoid being pinched by others.  

“I believe Americans use St. Patty’s Day as an excuse to get together to drink with friends and family and host or attend parties,” Ryder Neuhoff, senior, said.  

Another Irish symbol that Americans have adapted for the holiday are the mythical creatures called leprechauns that are said to cause mischief unless captured or appeased by offerings. It is fabled that they are types of fairies who covets gold and other valuable items, loves drinking, and may be caught raiding household cellars. Chocolate gold coins have become a traditional sweet treat for young children when celebrating. Elementary school classrooms may seem to be visited or even trashed from chaotic leprechauns searching for treasure, leaving behind chocolate gold in their wake. 

“I think leprechauns are a big representation of St. Patrick’s Day in America because growing up, we would always make leprechaun traps in class for the day,” Lily Riggins, freshman, said.  

If one would like to celebrate the Irish locally on the 17th, they may dine at the Irish pub and bar, Keegan’s in Towne Lake. Furthermore, make sure to leave out some of your shiniest coins or jewelry to avoid any leprechaun tricks.