“Kiss me I’m Irish!” is the phrase millions of Americans say every year on St. Patrick’s Day, whether you are Irish or Irish-at-heart. We generally celebrate by wearing green, putting on a four-leaf-clover, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. But what is the history behind the holiday?
To start, who is Saint Patrick? Named the Patron Saint of Ireland, he was originally a British citizen who, at age 16, was kidnapped and forced to spend 10 years in Ireland as a slave. He eventually escaped, and after converting to Christianity and becoming a Priest, moved back to Ireland as a missionary.
It was said that he used the three-leaf-clover as a teaching tool to symbolize the trinity. Once converted, people would pin the clovers to their clothes, which turned into wearing green clothing, still popular today. Saint Patrick eventually died on March 17th, 461 A.D., which is why we celebrate on this day.
The Charitable Irish Society of Boston in the Thirteen Colonies organized America’s first celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in 1737. New York City soon followed in 1762, with Irish immigrants attending informal meetings. Then in 1766, a group of Irish soldiers, serving for Britain, started a parade; the rest is history. Now 3 million spectators across the country, in cities like Boston, Chicago, New York, and Denver, showcase impressive parades and drink green beer.
Although St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious and cultural holiday, it has turned into a party for many. The Irish culture is largely Catholic, so how did heavy drinking come into the mix? Catholics are now celebrating lent, where they give up something such as alcohol, and St. Patrick’s Day is a one-day reprieve…a custom that took off!
Now in 2015, you can see green on every piece of clothing as commercialism has propelled our holidays to new heights. If green isn’t on clothing, then it’s in our beer, fountains and rivers.
Locally, how is Castle Rock celebrating?
If shopping’s your thing, head over to the Outlets for the St. Patrick’s Day sidewalk sale through Tuesday. If eating is your preference, local restaurants Union Bistro and Pegasus Restaurant will be offering of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on the menu. Maddie’s Biergarten is having a special guest chef cooking up a delicious Irish menu to add to your Irish beer. Hideaway Bar and Grill has similar traditional food with several Irish drink specials and music.
And if you want to forego the good and go straight to booze, I’m sure any bar in town will gladly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…after all, we’re all Irish on March 17th right?