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The Real Story Behind 5 St. Patrick’s Day Traditions Explained

St. Patrick’s Day is brimming with lively, colorful traditions. There are certain foods and beverages as well as favored colors and celebratory activities that are immediately connected with March 17th. Have you ever wondered just how these traditions came to be? We’ve got answers about five of the biggest ones.

Shamrocks

Shamrocks have long been associated with this holiday. That’s because the real St. Patrick was said to have used the plant to explain the Holy Trinity as he converted the Irish to Catholicism. While there is no concrete evidence that the story is true, Shamrocks are also a vivid green, the holiday’s main color and reminiscent of the Irish countryside.

jill111 on Pixabay

Corned Beef And Cabbage

Ask anyone what meal they associate with St. Patrick’s Day and they’re likely to say corned beef and cabbage. That may be because, in Ireland, it was a delicacy that was only affordable to upper classes including ruling Englishmen. Once Irish immigrants in the U.S. were able to afford meat, they turned to the much sought after corned beef as their choice.

Green Beer

One of the most well known St. Patrick’s Day holiday traditions may be green beer. This an American tradition, bringing more of the Irish color into celebrations. Believe it or not, the beverage is generally made with blue food coloring which mixes with the yellow in lighter-colored beers to make the sought after hue.

jill111 on Pixabay

Dyeing The Chicago River

For more than 50 years, two Irish clans from Chicago have turned the Chigaco river into a stunning shade of celebratory green. A six-person boat crew featuring only members from the two families shakes an orange powder into the water. It makes a color change that lasts for about five hours.

Parades

St. Patrick’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious holiday in Ireland. When the Irish emigrated to America, they continued to honor the holiday as a way to retain their heritage in their new home. Part of their celebrations included parades featuring Irish social clubs, Irish music, and members of police and fire departments with Irishmen in their ranks.

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