Skip to main content

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Fun facts about the origin with the dancing leprechaun

I was curious about the origin of Saint Patrick’s Day. So, I googled it. Who knew this dates back to 432 BC.

Saint Patrick’s Dayfeast day (March 17) of St. Patrickpatron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Many legends grew up around him—for example, that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Ireland came to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts.

It was emigrants, particularly to the United States, who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a largely secular holiday of revelry and celebration of things Irish. Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants, who often wielded political power, staged the most extensive celebrations, which included elaborate parades. Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762. Since 1962 Chicago has coloured its river green to mark the holiday. (Although blue was the colour traditionally associated with St. Patrick, green is now commonly connected with the day.) Irish and non-Irish alike commonly participate in the “wearing of the green”—sporting an item of green clothing or a shamrock, the Irish national plant, in the lapel. Corned beef and cabbage are associated with the holiday, and even beer is sometimes dyed green to celebrate the day. Although some of these practices eventually were adopted by the Irish themselves, they did so largely for the benefit of tourists.

A little about St. Patrick. He was born in Britain of a Romanized Family. Irish raiders plucked him from his home at a young age of 16 and was placed into slavery in Ireland. For six years he served as a hersdsman and this drove him to his faith. Finally escaping his captors, he fled to Britain, nearly starving to death and was briefly held captive before being reunited with his family.

Before the end of the 7th century, Patrick was known as a legendary figure. Patrick wrote of himself that he raied people from the dead; some 33 men, and some of whom had been deceased for many years.  Read more about Saint Patrick

So, where does the Shamrock come in? Legend has it that Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Trinity, in Christian doctrine, the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. 

The original color for Saint Patrick’s was blue but the color green has been associated with Ireland since the mid 1600’s and then became the symbol of Irish Nationalism in 1798. To this day, Chicago dye’s their river green to celebrate this holiday.

Celebrated every year on March 17, people gather at their favorite pubs, host large parades and festivals and dress in green from head to toe.

So, whatever your plans for this holiday, just enjoy and be safe and may the luck of the irish be with you!

Enjoy the dancing leprechaun