Smoking of the Green: Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s Day or Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on March 17, the death anniversary of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. St. Patrick’s Day became a holiday in the 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church. It’s a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and celebrated widely throughout the United Kingdom as well as many countries, United States included.
Who was Saint Patrick? He was a missionary who converted pagans to Catholicism, driving the figurative “snakes” from Ireland. The snakes being non-believers and anyone who refused to accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior. Actual snakes were not native to Ireland.
In the United States, St. Pat’s is celebrated by 51% of Americans, regardless of Irish heritage. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national holiday! When it comes to March 17th, it seems everyone is a little bit Irish.
St. Patrick’s Day traditions in America include wearing green (or you’ll get pinched), listening to Irish music, drinking Guinness and green beer at bars, parades of bagpipers, and anything to do with shamrocks. Why clover? Saint Patrick was said to have used the symbol of a 3-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. So, however you celebrate, it all comes back to religion in the end.