Hi Everyone. I hope I find you all well this week. St. Patrick’s Day is less than a month away and this week I’m continuing our countdown with a look at some of our much loved St. Patrick’s Day traditions. OK, so the celebrations will be virtual once again this year but there’s lots of great festivities happening online, especially at https://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/.
They’re moving their 6 day festival to their dedicated TV channel from 12-17 March. Their theme this year is “Dúisigh Éire! Awaken Ireland!” where they invite us to “throw off the long, dark months and rise to embrace the brighter days ahead.” Well I’m all for that! So let’s take a look at some of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
St. Patrick’s Day Traditions.
So we have our American cousins to thank for the first St. Patrick’s Day parade! It all began with the Irish diaspora who wanted to mark the day in the states. The first parade took place in Boston in 1737 while New York held the first official parade in 1766. In Ireland, the first parade was held in Waterford in 1903. The biggest parade in Ireland is in Dublin when around half a million people descend on the capital city. We look forward to those days we we can all gather safely again.
2. The Wearing of the Green
Before the 17th century, blue was the color of choice for St. Patrick’s Day. As Irish nationalism grew, so did the wearing of the green. There were also the associations with the Emerald Isle, so called because of the color of our world famous rich green landscape.
There’s also another fun tradition associated with wearing green, courtesy of our friends in the USA. Anyone not wearing green on St.Patrick’s is in danger of being pinched! The tall tale goes that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns and in turn and keeps you safe from their pinching. The tradition of pinching people who are not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day still continues in the US to this day!
Many of us will be proudly wearing our shamrock on March 17th. Although the harp is Ireland’s official national emblem, the lucky shamrock is the favored choice for St. Patrick’s Day. Indeed, the shamrock is closely associated with the man himself. Legend has it that St.Patrick used the three leaved Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to would be Christian converts in 5th century Ireland.
4. Greening of Buildings
This is a much more modern tradition and one of my favorites. Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative began 10 years ago where international landmarks are illuminated in green around the world as well as in towns and cities all over Ireland. The initiative has seen iconic buildings such as The Empire State Building, The Sydney Opera House and Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris all beautifully decked out in green for the big day. My pic is much closer to home- St. Patrick’s cathedral in Downpatrick, the final resting place of our patron saint who died on 17th March 461 AD .
Well that’s all from me for this week. Do drop by next week when I’ll be sharing my St. Patrick’s Day gift guide. In the meantime, we would love to hear from you. Although we can’t gather as we normally we would, that’s no reason not to celebrate, albeit virtually!
We’re getting the party started with a call out for your pics and videos from St. Patrick’s Days past. Share your favorite memories of our national holiday on our Facebook and Instagram pages and lets share some St. Patrick’s Day love! Whether it’s last years at home celebration or a fun day out at your local parade in days gone by-the sky’s the limit!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!