By Jongyeop Jeong, 12th Grade
Every year on March 17th, people worldwide celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the anniversary of the death of the patron saint of Ireland in 461. For over a millennium, the Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating in the afternoon. However, in the United States, this holiday has evolved into a secular celebration of Irish culture, complete with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking, and, of course, plenty of green.
St. Patrick, born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, was kidnapped at 16 and taken to Ireland as an enslaved person. He eventually escaped but returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. By his death, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Legends surrounding St. Patrick include his supposed expulsion of snakes from Ireland and his use of the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity.
Initially, the Irish celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with religious services, but Irish immigrants who moved to the United States to escape starvation after the Great Potato Famine transformed the holiday into a secular feast celebrating Irish heritage. Elaborate parades became the norm in cities with high densities of Irish immigrants, who often held significant political power due to their growing numbers. Moreover, the Irish-American community’s voting bloc, known as the “green machine,” became a crucial swing vote for political candidates. The annual St. Patrick’s Day parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred in Boston in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762. Since 1962, Chicago has colored its river green to mark the holiday.
Today, people worldwide celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by dancing, wearing green clothing or shamrocks, and feasting on traditional Irish foods like corned beef, Irish bacon, cabbage, and green-dyed beer.
This Saint Patrick’s Day, the junior class of CBNH will be hosting a school fair with a unique twist. Rather than solely focusing on Irish culture, the fair will provide an environment similar to a traditional school fair, but with a green theme throughout. The school will be encouraged to wear yellow, green, and white clothing with jeans. A variety of activities will be available, including a game room, crochet, face painting, and arm-wrestling. In addition, the fair will offer a diverse menu, featuring both sweet and savory foods such as crepes, pancakes, pizza, and empanadas. Handmade shamrocks, clovers, and pots of gold will decorate the venue, creating a festive atmosphere. With activities, delicious food, and the chance to find a four-leaf clover, it’s an event you won’t want to miss!
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2022, August 24). St. Patrick’s Day. Encyclopedia Britannica.Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Patricks-Day
History.com Editors. (2009, October 27). History of St. Patrick’s Day. HISTORY. Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/history-of-st-patricks-day