Around certain parts, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is all about drinking, or if you’re under legal drinking age, getting pinched. But have you ever thought about just why we
celebrate the way we do? We break down some of the most well-known Irish traditions and sayings in celebration of St. Patty’s Day and the luck of the Irish.
Erin go bragh!
Have no idea what that actually means? Erin go bragh loosely translates as “Ireland Forever.”
Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but there’s no proof that this is more than folklore. Shamrocks are thought to symbolize the rebirth of spring (and spring is right around the corner when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around) and became a national Irish symbol of pride.
Traditions as early as the 17th century incorporated the plant, and people wore shamrocks on their coats and closed the day by “drowning the shamrock” — placing it in a glass of whiskey before drinking.
And if you don’t have shamrocks sprouting up in your backyard, pick up a few shamrock cookies.
Blue was actually the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. As folklore has it , green crept its way in for a few reasons. Ireland was nicknamed “The Emerald
Isle,” the above mentioned shamrocks, and the fact that the Irish flag has gone some green on it. Green officially became the unofficial color of St. Patrick’s Day around the 1700s but it’s
Americans who perpetuate the tradition more than the Irish.
Eating Corned Beef on St. Patrick’s Day is actually an American tradition, not an Irish one. Corned Beef was never a traditional Irish food. But when the Irish immigrated to America (specifically New York City), their Jewish neighbors introduced them to this delicacy, which was cheaper than pork.
The Irish stout is the drink of choice on St. Patrick’s Day, and according to the brewer, about 3 million pints of Guinness are downed on St. Patty’s Day– as opposed to a standard 600,00.