It's no secret that in the U.S. and other parts of the world, St. Patrick's Day has been marked by celebrations that include parties, copious numbers of green beers, and corned beef and cabbage. It's also no secret that many people would be surprised to know that in Ireland, none of these things are traditional or even widely accepted in any way, shape, or form as traditional. In fact, many people spend St. Patrick's Day at the churches in Ireland, as it's more of a sacred holiday with spiritual meaning than one that has called for an excuse to wear green and attend parades.
That's not to say that there aren't some fun hoorahs in Ireland on this holiday but more often than not, it's celebrated with a somber, serious commitment. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and because of this, the holiday calls for far more of a religious presence than the lighthearted and fun tribute to Ireland that it is in other countries around the world. If you're in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day, this is what you can expect to experience.
It Was Once A Day The Called For The Closing Of Many Businesses In The Name Of Worship
Traditionally, St. Patrick's Day began as a day that was spent in memory of Saint Patrick and as a holy day for Catholics. The somber atmosphere surrounding the holy day was akin to that of Easter or Christmas for many but was specific to Ireland. On this day, Catholics would attend church and church services, and it was far from being a day full of partying as it is in the U.S. Up until about the 1970s, many businesses, including pubs, were actually ordered to be closed on St. Patrick's Day in observation of the holy day. While that is no longer the case, there are some older generations who still observe the more traditional commitments that this holiday once called for.
Wearing Green In Tribute To This Plant
Or, more accurately, wearing anything with a shamrock on it. The shamrock is closely associated with Saint Patrick and it's a tribute that's believed to have begun as early as the 17th century. It was also a way in which the Irish could express their devotion to the Catholic faith during the British invasion during that time, making it a symbol of both freedom and faith.
Additionally, the shamrock was used to symbolize the Holy Trinity during a time when Catholicism was not widely accepted. Saint Patrick himself was said to have used the shamrock as a way to symbolize his faith, as well, which brought together the Irish people and strengthened their faith and resolve. Today, the shamrock continues to be a symbol that's associated with Ireland and its people.
The First Parade Happened In 1931
It's almost surprising to know how many countries actually celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but Ireland is still fairly new to the idea of holding a parade in honor of it. The first parade held in the country happened in 1931, and, up until the 1970s, businesses would shut down on this day as many attended the parades. As time went on, the idea of St. Patrick's Day parades in Ireland became more of common activity and by the 1990s, they became hefty tourist attractions for those headed to Ireland for the holiday.
The Controversy Over Having A Pint (Or Three) During The Holiday
On any other day, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see pubs filled with people toasting to one thing or another, or simply just to life. However, St. Patrick's Day was not always commemorated with a pint and for some people, it still isn't.
Drinking on the holy day is still taboo for some people while many people enjoy indulging this way during celebrations. For tourists, the belief doesn't really apply either way but for the Irish, it's believed that some rules just shouldn't be broken.
Rivers Are Dyed Green
If you happen to be strolling past a river in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day, you might notice that it's looking a tad more green than it should. This is because the phenomenon has caught on not just in Ireland but worldwide, as many popular buildings and landmarks are also projected with green lights in celebration of the holiday.
St. Patrick's Day Dinner And Fun Fashion For Children
Traditionally, St. Patrick's Day calls for a dinner at home whereas, in many parts of the world, it consists of eating dinner out. In Ireland, families stay home and make traditional Irish dishes while celebrating the time they spend together. And, for the record, corned beef is not one of those traditional dishes - surprise!