Saint Patrick’s Day began as a national holiday in Ireland in approximately the 10th Century, and March 17 is believed to be the date that Saint Patrick died. Saint Patrick is a historical figure who played an important role across several sects in Christianity, but notably in Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Lutheranism. The saying goes that Patrick “drove the snakes out of Ireland”, meaning that he converted the locals to Christianity. In contemporary times, the holiday is primarily viewed as a celebration of Irish culture worldwide, and less of a religious event.
Several major cities in the U.S. became home to large populations of Irish immigrants as early as the late 1700s. These are notably Chicago, New York City, and Boston. Each city has their own unique traditions to commemorate the holiday, and the contributions of the Irish community. The Chicago River is dyed green every year to celebrate the day. Green has long been associated with the holiday due to the color’s presence in Ireland’s national flag, and the lush green landscape of the country.
🍀 Chicago River 🍀 #TheLatinoTeacher #Chicago #StPatricksDay #ChicagoRiver
Boston and New York City each hold parades throughout the respective cities. Additionally, Boston’s iconic “Make Way For Ducklings” statues in the Public Garden are decorated in costumes according to each holiday, and today they were adorned in shamrocks. The statues were created in honor of Irish-American author Robert McCloskey’s children’s book of the same name, which is set in Boston.
☘☘☘ Happy St. Patrick's Day from Mrs. Mallard and her brood at the Public Garden in Boston! 🦆🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤 pic.twitter.com/v8Mbl72kNb
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) March 17, 2023
The Boston Catholic archdiocese even confirmed that Catholics in the city can break their Lent fasting to eat traditional Corned Beef and cabbage today.
Catholics in Boston can eat corned beef this St. Patrick's Day, Archdiocese says https://t.co/Pka4WbvNSq
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) March 15, 2023
Back in the motherland, Irish locals honor centuries old traditions. The first parade in Ireland held in Saint Patrick’s honor allegedly dates back to Dingle in the 1880s, when locals protested the British monarchy’s curfew restrictions.
The pulse of a people….
Ireland’s earliest St Patrick’s Day parade has taken place in Dingle (6am). A tradition dating back to the Land War of 1880s when the British authorities tried to prevent parades, banning gatherings “between sunrise and sunset.” pic.twitter.com/g8kdOl3X59
— Seán Mac an tSíthigh (@Buailtin) March 17, 2023
Fans of Irish actors and musicians have posted tributes to them in honor of the holiday. Most recently, actor Colin Farrell was nominated for Best Actor at the 2023 Academy Awards for his role in The Banshees of Inisherin. The movie is set in a fictional rural Irish community amid the Irish Civil War. Additionally, fellow Irishman Paul Mescal received a nomination for Best Actor as well, for his role in A24’s Aftersun.
happy saint patrick’s day to the only irish men that exist pic.twitter.com/NXfDH3g7dR
— blake 🎸 | 35 | NANCY DAY 🥳 (@c0wboymitch) March 17, 2023
St. Patrick’s Day? More like St. Pádriac’s Day! ✨☘️✂️🎻
Here’s my festive Banshees of Inisherin inspired illustration, celebrating Colin Farrell , our patron saint of niceness and miniature donkeys! (We love you Jenny!!!)
— LUCA BONACCI (@lucabonacciart) March 17, 2023
The U.S. White House shared throwback photos from the annual celebration on their official Twitter account today. Current U.S. President Joe Biden is Irish-American himself, and former President Barack Obama discovered that he has partial Irish ancestry in recent years as well.
St. Patrick’s Day through the years at the White House. pic.twitter.com/YiyXfQrEzI
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 17, 2023
My mom always said, "Being Irish is about faith, family, and courage."
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! pic.twitter.com/8jzsOxbODR
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 17, 2023
Others shared creative Saint Patrick’s Day inspired treats, from cookies to charcuterie boards.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! pic.twitter.com/dVOoAkI7VP
— Ian Buchanan (@KilttripUSA) March 17, 2023
This charcuterie board from @Columbus_Meats will be your lucky charm this #StPatricksDay! pic.twitter.com/YA3Qr76dGj
— Hormel Foods (@HormelFoods) March 17, 2023
More traditional Irish recipes like Irish soda bread and corned beef and cabbage were also shared across Twitter today. Even famous television personality and chef Gordon Ramsay shared a tutorial on his favorite recipe today.
The perfect indulgence this St. Patricks Day is turning your Corned Beef into "Nachos" ! Perfect for the weekend or March Madness get the recipe in my mobile game #ChefBlast now: https://t.co/x3KGcShgZs pic.twitter.com/RIdxo7oirC
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) March 17, 2023
This Saint Patrick’s Day is marked with countless different traditions, old and new. One old Irish Blessing states, “May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.” The holiday is a reminder that everyone’s lucky pot of gold is different, and may even be closer than they think.