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Clovers, Kidnapping, And A Big Ass Parade.

The history of St. Patrick’s Day is an interesting one.

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Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the fifth century, but was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He eventually escaped but decided Ireland was a pretty cool place so he returned [insert joke about high school reunions]. He believed he was meant to bring Christianity to Ireland and its people, and so he did. The name “Saint Patrick” actually came after his death, when an Irish cleric needed a figure he could use to unite the Irish people.

The Clover

After his death, legends of Saint Patrick began to spread across Ireland. One of the most popular being that he would use Irish clovers to explain the holy trinity. The three leaves of the clover representing the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. However, many sources state that this not true.

Parades / Via

Over the years Irish Americans spread across the United States and started new traditions. One of which is Chicago’s biggest tradition, the dying of the Chicago River. This actually started in 1962 when city pollution-control used dye to trace illegal sewage discharge. The river ended up turning a festive green and they decided that would be a fun and unique way to celebrate. Now, roughly 40 pounds of green vegetable dye is used in the river for the holiday.


As the patriotism of the immigrants grew, Irish societies arose and would hold annual parades. In 1848, the societies decided to combine their parades to create one giant parade in New York. This became the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the world’s oldest civilian parade. It also became the largest in the United States with over 150,000 participants, a 1.5-mile parade route, and it takes five hours. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman attended the parade, which, for many Irish Americans was a very proud moment.

Kiss Me, I’m Basically A Castle

The story behind the quintessential “kiss me I’m Irish” (and other versions of that) quote on many shirts during St. Patrick’s Day is basically this: Irish people are the next best thing to kissing the actual stone at Blarney Castle in Ireland. Kissing the stone is said to give you the power of eloquent and persuasive speech.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are most popular in the United States, Canada, and Australia; although Japan, Singapore, Russia, and many other countries also hold celebrations. What about Ireland? Up until the 1970’s, l laws in Ireland required bars to be closed as this was seen as a traditionally religious holiday. In 1995, however, the Irish government decided to overturn that law and instead to use the holiday to showcase Irish culture to residence and tourists.

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