Today, Friday, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day, a worldwide celebration of Irish culture. Many know the traditions of the day, such as wearing green for good luck, but we thought it would be interesting to explore a bit more about how this special day is observed around the globe.
We turned to Cory Plough, M.Ed, Laurel Springs School’s Social Studies Academic Department Chair, for more.
“St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the death of St. Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland who tried to spread Christianity throughout the country,” Plough begins. “It is also a global celebration of Irish culture.”
Plough notes that the color green shows up all throughout Irish culture—even in one of its best known nicknames.
“Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle due to the large amount of rain and mist so it is good luck to wear green on ‘St. Paddy’s Day’ as part of paying tribute to the country and culture,” he says.
Some consider it a tradition to gently pinch those not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. According to WRAL.com, this tradition most likely started in America in the early 1700s, as those celebrating the holiday believed that wearing green made one invisible to the mythical creatures called leprechauns, and to pinch someone called attention to their visibility.
Another bit of green associated with St. Patrick’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, is the clover. This symbol had deep meaning in Irish culture.
“Three-leafed clovers are native to Ireland and a shamrock is a common name for them,” Plough explains. “It was chosen as a national emblem in Ireland since the three leaves can illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.”
Even though the holiday has roots in religious traditions, people from all over the country and the world participate in parades and parties commemorating the day. Plough notes that the holiday is in fact observed in many places, not just America and Ireland. He says, “St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world with Dublin often hosting the biggest celebration.”
In Dublin, the occasion is celebrated beginning March 16 with a four-day festival featuring a parade, musical performances, walking tours, historical information sessions, and displays of artwork.
In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day as part of a growing annual tradition. In cities including Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, S.C., and New Orleans, lavish parades are held in honor of the holiday.
In Moscow, Russia, March 16 to 20 will see “Green March Fest,” a celebration of Irish music and arts. In Berlin, Germany, from March 16 to 19, there an Irish film festival is being held.
That said, there are countless ways for Laurel Springs Students around the world to celebrate!
Are you wearing green today?