History of St. Patrick’s Day


Aliyah Oliver

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green. Some facts about St. Patrick’s Day are that St. Patrick’s Day parades have been taken place in New York City over 250 times since 1762. It was also led by the National Guard’s 69th Regiment, known as the “Fighting 69”. Included in the parade includes 150 bands, 2.1-mile parade route lengths that takes 5-6 hours. There is also 150,000-250,000 marchers with roughly 2 million spectators. Also, did you know that 40 lbs of green dye is used to turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day, which over 100,000 people watch the river change colors. Another fact about St. Patrick’s Day is that nearly 122 million Americans say they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; 83% wear green,34% make a special dinner, 31% attend a party, 25% decorate their homes or offices. St. Patrick’s Day spendings reach up to $4.14 Billion and Americans exchange about 8 million St. Patrick’s Day cards annually. Each year 5.5 million people visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. There are also over 450 churches named after St. Patrick in the U.S. St Patrick’s Day also consecrated more than 350 bishops too. St. Patrick was born in Britain, not Ireland. At age 16, he is kidnapped and sent to Ireland as a slave, and then after that, he escapes. When he started believing that he had been called to spread the word of God, Patrick returned to Ireland. Also, Patrick sees success converting the Irish to Christianity, reportedly baptizing 12,000 people in a single day near Killala. Did you know that the name Patrick is given to nearly 650,000 babies in the U.S. during the last 100 years? St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland in the 5th century. There are many legends and tales about how he brought Christianity to the island including how he used the shamrock to explain the Christian trinity. It is believed he died on March 17, 461. Hundreds of years later, around the 9th century, people in Ireland began celebrating the Feast of St. Patrick on March 17th each year. This holiday continued as a serious religious holiday in Ireland for hundreds of years. In the 1700s the holiday began to become popular with Irish-Americans wanting to celebrate their heritage. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1762, in New York City.